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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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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the sweeping federal health-care reform law enacted in 2010, deciding the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s signature domestic policy achievement. No matter how the High Court rules, its decision could affect HR and employee benefits for years to come.
For plan years beginning Sept. 23, 2011, unless the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants a waiver, group health plans that impose annual or lifetime limits on the dollar value of essential benefits are restricted to imposing an annual limit of $1.25 million.
The Fair Labor Standards Act grants many rights to workers, in­­cluding the right to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek. It does not, however, prevent employers from lowering hourly wages if they choose to do so.

The FMLA was enacted to let workers briefly put their careers on hold to tend to pressing personal matters like illness, childbirth and adoption, eldercare and other covered events. It was not designed to enable them to avoid discipline. That’s why the law specifically states that employers don’t have to give returning employees benefits they would not have received if they hadn’t taken FMLA leave.

Employees who file for Social Security disability benefits, alleging they are totally disabled, sometimes have ADA cases pending. If you discover that’s the case, scour your files for evidence of contradictory claims. You may be able to get the ADA lawsuit dismissed.

When former employees file for unemployment compensation after they quit for medical reasons, some employers routinely challenge the claims. But whether an employee is eligible to receive unemployment benefits depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
Butler County may have to pony up more than $100,000 to settle claims it discriminated against a small group of female county employees, all over age 40, who were forced to take pay cuts last year.
Q. With the new school year under way, can you ­give me a rundown on the rules governing our obligation to grant workers time off to participate in their children’s school-­related activities?
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that former employees who believe they are missing out on ERISA-protected benefits have four years to sue for those benefits after their request is formally denied.
Former Texas Southern University women’s basketball coach Surina Dixon has won $730,000 in a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit she filed after being fired in 2008, shortly after she was hired.
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