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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Q. My company is headquartered in San Francisco, but I have several employees throughout California, including in Los Angeles. What are my obligations with regard to the new Los Angeles minimum wage ordinance?
After pulling back the reins on pay raises during the recession, employers have returned to handing out steady, but not spectacular, salary increases. But the one-raise-fits-all approach is dying off as more employers embrace pay for performance.
Almost two-thirds of HR and hiring managers surveyed—64%—believe the minimum wage should be increased in their state, up from 62% last year.
Pay raises for U.S. employees are expected to hold steady in 2016, according to a survey by the Towers Wat­­son HR consulting firm. Virtually all respondents (98%) said they plan to give employees raises next year, with an average salary increase of 3% for exempt professionals.

Employees who quit their jobs for “necessitous and compelling” reasons may still be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. Quitting because of medical problems sometimes qualifies. That’s why employers should consider offering accommodations if an employee says he needs to quit for medical reasons. An accommodation offer may mean there’s no “necessitous and compelling” reason to quit.

Why not hold onto what a skilled worker can give you as long as you can, rather than letting that knowledge walk out the door all at once?
Q. We received our first request for a same-sex spouse to be covered under our insurance. We’re fine doing this, as long as they are actually married. (We don’t cover domestic partners.) Can we ask for proof of marriage even if we don’t ask it from opposite-sex spouses? I’d like to create a policy that says if your last name is different than your spouse you wish to cover, we need proof of marriage. Is that legal? 
The Court of Appeal of California has ruled in a case testing the limits of calling workers independent contractors. Employers should review their independent contractor arrangements to make sure they meet California requirements.
Almost two-thirds of employers surveyed offer individual performance-based incentives, but it’s not the most common kind of variable pay.
Q. We have to reduce salary wages by 20%. The plan is to reduce three of the five departments to 32 hours and adjust their wages accordingly. Is this legal?
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