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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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.
Do you employ workers on a piece-rate basis but require them to stick around when things are slow or perform other tasks between the piecework? If so, watch out!
Q. We gave eligible employees a “floating holiday” in lieu of having Dec. 31 as a paid holiday. We generally pay employees for all unused vacation, sick and personal time upon termination, but we have no policy regarding an unused floating holiday. Do we have to pay workers for any unused floating holidays upon termination?
Here’s some good news: If you have complete and accurate time records, an employee’s claims that he just “knows” what hours others work isn’t going to be enough to keep a lawsuit moving.
Women earn an average of $44,400 annually, compared to $68,300 for men, according to a study by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists.
Recent FY2014 budget proposals by President Obama include a major change for retirement savers: A new $3 million limit would apply to assets in qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)plans, as well as defined-benefit pensions and IRAs.
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