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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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Insurance plan administrators no longer have to worry about offering optional long-term care coverage under the Community Living Assistance Ser­­­­vices and Supports Act, which was rolled into the health care reform law. And they have a temporary reprieve on providing employees and beneficiaries with a simple explanation of their benefits and a uniform glossary covering basic health insurance and medical terms.

Execs at HEI Hotels & Resorts hope to convince at least 3,000 employees to make voluntary commitments to action to improve their own health. A companywide survey revealed that 86% of associates are willing to change their lifestyles to improve their health.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, “borrow” some of these unique, low-cost benefits from employers on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, which includes several small and midsize businesses.
Q. We have an exempt supervisor who has accumulated more than 400 hours of comp time over the past year. It’s almost impossible for her to take 400 hours of comp time and still do her job. What is our obligation to pay for this comp time? How can this issue best be resolved?
Q. A long-standing employee recently took FMLA leave to give birth, but her son has many medical complications. She exhausted her eligibility under our disability carrier and isn’t eligible for long-term disability because she herself is not disabled. We want her back, but she can’t commit to even 20 hours a week. What are our obligations under the FMLA, and would our employee be entitled to unemployment compensation if we terminate her?
Here’s another reason to act fast when an employee complains about offensive graffiti in the workplace: He can quit and collect unemployment compensation benefits.

You may think that a long-term arrangement with an independent contractor to provide professional services will never be considered an employment relationship. But that’s not true if you exert too much control over the way the work is done. And according to a recent Commonwealth Court decision, it doesn’t take all that much control.

Disabled employees may have trouble doing their jobs without an accommodation. If you simply tell the employee to figure out a way to perform the job and refuse to help find an accommodation, the em­­ployee may quit and apply for unemployment.
If an employee isn’t working as hard as you expect, reducing his pay might conceivably provide enough of a kick in the pants that he’ll pick up the pace. As long as you carefully document why you are making the pay cut, he won’t win a discrimination case even if his pay puts him at a lower level than others outside his protected class who perform the same job.

These days, employees are getting braver about discussing their pay. Part of the reason is that the National Labor Relations Board has done a good job publicizing its stance that discussing pay is concerted activity protected by law. Be prepared for the inevitable lawsuits with solid reasons for all pay decisions.

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