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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The health care reform law required employers to begin notifying employees on March 1 about the availability of state-based exchanges as an option for buying health insurance. But acknowledging the obvious—that the state exchanges are nowhere near ready to go live—the Department of Labor has temporarily rescinded the notice requirement.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the IRS’ request to rehear its decision in U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. Having run the gamut at the appellate level, it’s likely that the IRS will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A petition to the Supreme Court is due April 4.
Convenience store chain Sheetz has cut the ribbon at a new employee health and wellness center next to its distribution center in Claysburg, Pa. Its “Center for Shwellness” partners with Marathon Health to offer free health and wellness coaching for employees and their families.
Workers receiving unemployment benefits are encouraged to take available positions even if it looks like the job may be unsuitable. As incentive, taking the job and then quitting within 30 days won’t bar continued benefits. The date that counts isn’t the last day worked, but the day the worker gave notice.
Each year, the Human Rights Campaign rates Fortune 500 companies on how well they treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Five Pennsylvania firms couldn’t have scored any better, earning perfect 100s from the gay-rights advocacy organization.

Q. Can we give an exempt employee a bonus of extra vacation days in addition to the standard accrued time off outlined in our employee handbook?

Starting this year, TD Bank is offsetting the additional federal and state taxes that its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) employees pay for domestic-partner benefits compared with heterosexual married couples.
For 2012, you could provide employees with up to $125 a month tax-free in qualified mass transit benefits and up to $240 in qualified employer-provided parking. Until, that is, Congress upped the ante by equalizing both benefits at $240 a month, retro­active to the beginning of 2012.
We reported last month that traditional health plans must pay a new $1 per insured fee to fund medical research. Now the Feds say the fees also apply to some health reimbursement arrangements and flexible spending accounts.
Like many state and local government ­employers, you no doubt are looking to cut ex­­penses, including labor costs. If you must scale back employee pay, make sure that there’s no discrimination in whose salary is cut. Other­­wise, your savings may be eaten up in litigation costs.
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