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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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Q. A recently terminated employee demanded immediate payment of his wages and asked us to directly deposit the check into his bank account. I know that Minnesota law requires us to pay the wages through the employee’s last day of employment within 24 hours of his demand. While this employee was normally paid through direct deposit, we cannot coordinate a direct deposit within 24 hours. Can we just send the employee a check by mail?
It used to be that before an em­­ployee or former employee could get into federal court with a ­benefits-denial case, he had to show that he was a “plan participant.” But following a recent 9th Circuit decision, merely claiming to have been a plan participant is enough.
Q. How does the Illinois Religious Freedom Pro­­tec­­tion and Civil Union Act affect health benefits?
By a vote of 6-4, Cuyahoga County commissioners have approved a measure that will provide health insurance benefits to the children of gay partners of county employees.
Q. Under our company policy, an employee who fails to give 20 working days’ notice before resigning forfeits any earned vacation days. Is this policy lawful?
Mentor-based North Coast Wood Products has settled a Department of Labor lawsuit alleging the company’s owner illegally diverted money from 11 participants in the now-defunct company’s profit-­sharing plan.
Two recent settlements make what should be an obvious point: You can’t misappropriate employees’ retirement money and expect to get away with it. Cases in West Chester and Bethlehem show that the feds will come looking for you, and make you pay it back.
If you offer extra off-duty training to your hourly employees, pay extra attention to the rules that explain when those hours must be “paid time.” In most cases it will, but the Fair Labor Standards Act does give you a four-step ladder to climb to a pay exemption.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the fate of health care reform before the end of June. No matter how the court rules on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, its decision will affect employer-provided benefits for years to come.

CNO Financial Group has opened a medical clinic on its Carmel, Ind., campus for employees and their families. OurClinic@Carmel offers primary, preventive and urgent medical care 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday.

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