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. How can we handle an employee who routinely uses vacation and sick time on Mondays?
The Obama administration’s top workplace legislative initiative this year—the Paycheck Fairness Act—died last month when Senate Democrats failed to muster the needed votes.
Do the mental health and substance abuse benefits offered through your group health plan comply with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008? The DOL last month issued a set of frequently asked questions that help clarify employers’ duties under the law.
Q. We need to cut our payroll costs. Is there any reason we can’t cut everyone by 10%? All our employees are at-will.

Q. Our employees punch a time clock and then go to job sites. Sometimes they don’t take a lunch break. But when they do, they’re unable to clock out and back in, so there’s no time record. Can a manager adjust the timecard by marking through the daily total and deducting the lunch time?

It’s a benefit designed to retain long-term employees, but the practice of allowing retiring government ­workers to cash out unused leave may turn in­­to an actuarial time bomb. The prob­­lem: Local governments are shedding employees at a record pace, often through early-retirement packages. And the leave liability is largely unfunded.

Q. Management wants to institute a policy requiring cashiers whose registers are short at night’s end to replace the disputed amount out of their own pockets. Would that violate the law?

Have you thought about converting employees into independent contractors to save money? Then make sure you tell them they won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation. If you don’t, they may be eligible.
Does your health insurance or other benefit plan specifically state that it covers those who are married under Minnesota law? Then your policy terms probably apply in some unique circumstances—including when an employee is married to someone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery.
Q. Must we give our employees time off to vote? If so, must we pay the employees for the time they spend voting?
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