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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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Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed bills enacting several new em­­ployment statutes. Each becomes effective Jan. 1, 2012. Here’s how the new laws affect private employers.
Smart employers document all the reasons for every rate of pay, in case someone later alleges some form of discrimination. That way, they’re prepared to justify exactly why one worker earns more or less than another similarly situated colleague.

The U.S. District Court for West­ern Pennsylvania has ordered Kevin T. Weir, chief executive officer of Liberty-Pittsburgh Inc., to repay $67,138 to his employee’s 401(k) plan. The settlement resulted from an in­vestigation by the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor’s EBSA.

Here’s an unexpected factor to consider when an employee requests part-time work following childbearing leave: How you set her pay rate may create Equal Pay Act problems.

Employees generally aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation if they leave their jobs voluntarily. On the other hand, employees are eligible if they leave for “compelling and necessitous” reasons. One of those reasons may be a drastic reduction in available work.

Global health care company Sanofi is keeping its own employees healthy by opening a full-service medical center and on-site pharmacy at its U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, N.J.

Employees must be paid for their pre-shift or post-shift activities, if those activities are integral and indispensable to the performance of their principal jobs. That can stretch a workday and possibly require you to pay for employees’ commuting time. But not all pre-shift or post-shift work is the same.

The economy is a shambles, and employers are doing everything they can to stay in business. That includes terminations, salary and wage cuts and temporary furloughs. Nearly every one of those moves carries litigation risk.  With little to lose, more and more employees are willing to stake bias claims, hoping to score a big settlement. Their allies are attorneys who will look for any reason to sue. What should employers do?
Q, We would like to institute a rule subjecting em­­ployees to discipline for clocking in late. Are we permitted to do this even though we round our employees’ time to the nearest quarter-hour?
Workers' compensation premiums are based on the frequency of a company's injury claims. So it's critical to avoid paying claims for accidents that are not covered, as well as investigate potential cases of fraud. Also, return-to-work questions arise in situations where workers' compensation interacts with the ADA and the FMLA.
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