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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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.
More than 60% of employees at Orlando, Fla.-based InCharge Debt Solutions work from home. The payoffs have been impressive.

The state’s highest court is weighing how New York state law applies to Starbucks’ tip-pooling practices, which funnel some customer tips to management personnel. The case has wound through the legal system as courts try to determine how state law applies to Star­­bucks’ tip pools.

Q. A job description says “a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience” is required. An employee in that job has proven he can do everything the job description entails and then some. Is it legal to tell him the raise (within reason) cannot be justified to the board of directors be­­cause he doesn’t have a college degree? 

In the waning hours of New Year’s Day, Congress passed a bill averting a plunge off the “fiscal cliff,” setting 2013 tax rates—and providing an unexpected boost for employee training and commuter subsidies.
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