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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For years, the tax code treated employer subsidies for employee parking and mass transit roughly equally. Employers could give employees up to $250 per month tax-free to pay for parking and $245 per month to take the bus or subway. But expiration of part of the Internal Revenue Code cut the tax-free mass-transit subsidy to just $130 per month.

Here’s another reason your hand­­book must include clear, concise and specific explanations of vacation and other leave policies: By carefully explaining that em­­ployees who quit forfeit unused leave, you won’t have to pay them for that un­­used time under the North Caro­­lina Wage and Hour Act.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the California Department of Industrial Relations (CDIR) did not violate U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship rules when it ordered three contractors to remove from public works projects apprentices who were enrolled in a federally run program.
A former employee of Bell Sociali­­zation Services in York has won unemployment compensation benefits after she was fired for not having “reliable transportation.”
A class of 750 bartenders, waiters and security guards who worked for the now-defunct Drink and Spin nightclubs in Minneapolis has won a wage lawsuit that made it all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
More than half of those earning less than $35,000 per year worry that a poor economy will cost them their jobs, according to a Washington Post poll. Better-paid workers aren’t as concerned.
Q. Our hourly employees have a paid 30-minute lunch break. Sometimes we ask them to do some work during that time. Is this OK since we pay them or are we required to provide them with a complete break?
California has two new laws affecting employers in the state. The first, signed into law in Au­­gust, applies to employers that prevail in wage-related lawsuits. It limits their ability to obtain attorneys’ fee awards. The second, signed in September, raises California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour by January 2016.
A few years back, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that chicken processing employees had to be paid for time spent putting on and taking off special protective clothing before and after their shifts. Since then, numerous lawsuits have challenged “donning and doffing” pay practices. Now, the 8th Circuit Court of Ap­peals has provided a bit of clarification.

President Obama on Dec. 4 voiced his support for a Senate bill that would increase the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. House Republicans oppose it, so the measure is unlikely to pass between now and the 2014 elections. However, half of Americans already live in states and locales with higher minimum wages than the federal rate of $7.25.

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