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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. 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.
The Court of Appeals of Ohio has let stand a decision that denied unemployment benefits to a woman who quit her job so she could move with her husband to California.

You probably think that once a contract employee’s contract expires, that’s the end of the matter. You don’t renew the contract and she moves on. That may not be the case. She can still sue over Equal Pay Act claims for at least two years after her last check.

The Court of Appeal of Florida has concluded that employees fired for poor attendance must have a chance to show they tried to comply with their employer’s attendance policies before they are denied unemployment compensation benefits.
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.
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.
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