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Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits topics – whether it’s minimum wage, workers’ compensation laws, or employee pay – if properly handled, can help you retain workers and recruit new ones.

Use our advice to craft independent contractor agreements that keep independent contractors – and your bosses – happy.

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Annual or quarterly statements for 401(k) and 403(b) retirement funds could soon include graphs showing how much monthly income employees can expect to receive from their investments.
If a worker who was hurt at work can find a doctor to testify that subsequent debilitating headaches were caused by the work injury, you can expect to continue making disability payments for a long time.
Under the Affordable Care Act, open enrollment for the individual health exchanges, or HEXs, begins Oct. 1, 2013. The outlook for the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOPs, through which small employers may buy health insurance is a bit more complicated. Here’s where things stand.
The DOL last month published an updated version of its model COBRA election notice, as well as model notices that employers can use to tell employees about their options for buying health insurance through the new state exchanges.
Employers will be able to offer rich incentives for employees to participate in workplace wellness programs under final rules issued May 29 by the Obama administration.

Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals will be able to buy health insurance ­policies through individual health exchanges (HEXs). States may create their own HEXs, and may create SHOPs (Small Business Health Options Program). This chart summarizes the states’ current positions on HEXs, SHOPs and whether they will expand their Medicaid rolls.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA. Since then, a primary concern for employers has been how to effectively prepare for the employer mandate requiring most employers to provide health insurance benefits. Although the mandate takes effect in 2014, implementation of several requirements will depend on cir­­cumstances that unfold this year.
After being locked out since Oct. 21, 2012, musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra are prepared to complete a shortened season with a smaller contingent. A tentative agreement ending the lockout cuts the orchestra from 34 members to 28 and lowers the guaranteed minimum salary to $60,000—19% less than the previous contract that expired last September.
Sometimes, employees quit in a huff over a pay dispute and then try to collect unemployment compensation benefits. They may argue that a pay cut justified their resignation. But unless the reduction is substantial—usually greater than 20% of previous pay—the resignation wouldn’t be justified.
Courts hearing unemployment comp cases have recently been friendly to former employees seeking new jobs. However, now that the job market is recovering, some of that sympathy is evaporating. More and more, those seeking unemployment benefits are out of luck if they can’t show they are actively looking for work.
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