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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A federal district court has ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution by prohibiting California same-sex couples from signing up for long-term care insurance through the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.
Q. We sometimes require our hourly employees to commute from the office to a two-day meeting that includes company-sponsored social activities and an overnight stay. They then return to the office after meetings on the second day. How do we pay them for this time?
In Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., the 7th Circuit held that an employer wasn’t required to pay employees for time spent changing into and out of work clothes and time spent traveling to and from the locker room and the work area.
Offering disability benefits to an employee doesn’t prevent an em­­ployer from later contending that the employee is not actually disabled.
Any adverse employment action—including withholding an ex­­pected pay increase—can form the basis for a discrimination lawsuit. If you hold back raises to punish rule-breaking, make sure you can show you do so impartially.

With workforces lean, it’s important to squeeze every bit of productivity out of employees. But squeeze too hard by not providing employees with state-mandated meal or rest breaks, and you’re likely to face a lawsuit. Two recent cases illustrate.

The beginning of the school year can be fraught with stress and tension for kids and their parents, too. Result: less productive and often absent employees. Reminder: The federal FMLA doesn’t cover employees who take time off for school visits or to care for kids who aren’t seriously ill but who must stay home from school. Some state laws do.

US Airways employees who go out of their way to help the airlines’ customers get more than job satisfaction or a pat on the back from a supervisor. They can win up to $10,000 for their extra effort.
Q. Our evaluation process includes commitment to the community. We give all employees “points” for volunteering. The points become part of their numerical rating and could affect their rating (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) and raise potential. We don’t pay for volunteering time. Are we violating the law?
The Affordable Care Act health care reform law limits employees’ pretax contributions into health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to $2,500 for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31. The IRS has now clarified whose taxable year counted—the employee’s, the employer’s or the cafeteria plan’s.
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