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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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Fox-Searchlight Pictures faces a class-action lawsuit in New York from un­paid interns who worked on the production of the hit film “Black Swan.” The interns claim Fox-Searchlight failed to pay them for their work in violation of the FLSA and re­­cent DOL guidelines.
How much your organization pays for unemployment insurance is based, in part, on how many former employees have successfully filed claims against you. Under­­standing who is eligible for unemployment benefits and who isn’t can go a long way toward keeping insurance rates low.
The U.S. Supreme Court case everyone has been waiting for is finally here. The High Court began hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the landmark Affordable Care Act on March 26. An unprecedented six hours of arguments will set the stage for a decision—probably in late June—on whether “Obamacare” stays or goes. No matter how the court rules, it will affect HR for years to come.

As businesses make their slow transition from layoff mode to hiring, they may find that job-seekers have changed their expectations of employee benefits. They're beginning to demand everything from more comfortable work spaces to em­­ployer practices that nurture the psychological well-being of the workforce.

For most employers, open enrollment for health insurance benefits in 2012 has come and gone. So now's the time for comp and benefits professionals to start planning for the next health insurance renewal go-round. An early start will give you a fighting chance to keep costs under control in 2013.
Employees who work for technology/wireless communications firm BTS enjoy a unique vacation benefit: They can use a company-owned condominium in Florida—and $250 in spending money. That’s just one of the generous benefits that CEO Sean Lane says are important for attracting employees long on ideas and energy.
If your company has established top pay levels for each job classification, you probably end up giving some long-tenured (and, therefore older) em­­ployees smaller raises than less-experienced employees. But those older workers won’t be able to successfully claim age discrimination, as long as you can explain that the pay difference is due to your clearly documented wage schedules.
Q. We hired a nonexempt part-time employee, but for several months she’s been working about 40 hours a week. Are we required by law to convert her to full-time status and offer benefits if she averages near 40 hours?
The IRS has clarified that em­­ployers can take a current-year tax deduc­­tion for a fixed amount of bonuses that will be paid to employees during the following year, even though the amount that each employee will re­­ceive, and even the identity of employees, aren’t known until after the tax year ends.
Q. An employee’s spouse has become disabled. Even though this employee is younger than 59½, he’d like to take a distribution out of his 401(k) account. Can we accommodate him?
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