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 doesn’t fully kick in for another year. But that hasn’t stopped DOL auditors from scrutinizing group health plans for provisions already in effect, such as the grand­fathering rules and children staying on parents’ plan until they turn age 26.
Q. Are we required to continue to offer our employees benefits while they are out on leave?
At Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis, a diverse workforce is one that includes working parents. Steve Fry, senior VP of HR and diversity, says, “Family-friendly work schedules and benefits are about having lower stress levels, maintaining better health and enabling a stronger focus when at work––all leading to enhanced engagement, increased innovation and ultimately better results.”
ERISA allows employees to sue if they believe they suffered retaliation for giving information or testifying in an ERISA proceeding. Until now, employers assumed that an employee had to at least make a formal complaint to the DOL before he could sue for retaliation. That’s no longer true.
As the legislative wrangling to avert a plunge over the federal budget’s fiscal cliff heated up late last year, the IRS released its list of the nation’s biggest tax breaks. Three of the top 10 involved employee benefits.
When employees of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina don’t feel well, they can log onto the Internet and find out why. The company has partnered with Ameri­­can Well and Walgreens Take Care Health Systems to create a telehealth service for employees.

The DOL says meal times are paid time unless employees are completely relieved of their duties during breaks. The 8th Circuit says the correct rule is that employers can require employees to be ready to work during meal times without affecting its unpaid status. This is known as the “predomi­nantly for the benefit of the employer” standard.

Not every complaint about what might be construed as a benefit amounts to protected activity under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

The Nebraska state government reduced employee health claims by $4.2 million over three years after introducing a wellness program that features 100% coverage of preventive health care and lower premiums. The effort led Nebraska to become the first state to win the C. Everett Koop National Health Award.

In the waning hours of New Year’s Day, Congress passed legislation averting a plunge off the "fiscal cliff" and making permanent Bush-era tax rates for all but the highest earners. Now employers can finally make concrete plans for their 2013 payroll operations.
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