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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Pay-raise budgets at U.S. employers have picked up from all-time lows four years ago, going from a mean of 2.2% in 2009 to 2.9% in 2013, according to the “WorldatWork 2013-2014 Salary Budget Survey.” While employers plan to loosen the purse strings next year, spending on pay raises will be far from lavish.
California wage-and-hour law requires employers that provide vacation benefits to pay out unused vacation immediately upon termination. However, there’s an exception for union workplaces if the employer and union clearly and unmistakably agree to waive that payment.
Q. Is it true that the California state minimum wage is increasing soon?
U.S. Nursing Corp., a temp agency that provides replacement nurses to hospitals when staff go on strike, has agreed to pay $1.77 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by California employees.

When working parents need time off for school activities, most employers are flexible. But just how far they’ll bend depends on whether employees are nonexempt or exempt under the FLSA and state short-term leave laws.
California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has issued a report summarizing the enforcement activity of the Division of Labor Standards Enforce­­ment in 2011 and 2012. Its conclusion: The DLSE has significantly increased the number and scope of its enforcement actions during the first two years of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.
Our conclusion: Now more than ever, employers should ensure that their pay practices comply with Cali­­for­­nia law.
Here’s an important case to watch if some of your em­­ployees can’t take regular meal breaks. The Court of Appeal of California will soon determine if an agreement requiring employees to eat while working (and being paid) violates California labor codes for one class of employees.

Long before the Affordable Care Act, there was the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Among other provisions, HIPAA sets rules for wellness programs, limits pre-existing condition exclusion periods to no longer than 12 months and requires plans to provide employees with certificates of coverage. The ACA and its implementing regulations amend several HIPAA provisions.

The state minimum wage for most jobs will rise to $8.00 per hour effec­­tive Dec. 31, 2013, after the Leg­­is­­la­­ture approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pro­­posal in late March. The minimum wage will increase twice more: to $8.75 on Dec. 31, 2014, and to $9.00 on Dec. 31, 2015.
It will take months to sort out all the implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. But organizations with employees who are married to same-sex spouses can begin acting now to ensure their benefits plans comply with federal law.
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