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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Q. We are planning to change a salesperson’s pay from straight salary to a lower salary plus commission. Can we do this without violating wage laws?
Q. Due to recent snowstorms, some exempt employees have not been able to get to work. Can we dock the pay or accrued leave of employees who do not come to work? Can we do so even if the office is closed?

Some jobs require employees to always show up on time. Nursing homes, day care centers, hospitals and the like are obvious examples. Draconian attendance policies may be necessary to ensure coverage. As long as they allow for FMLA leave and consider reasonable accommodations for disabled workers, such rules are fine.

Many employers automatically deduct meal period breaks from time worked to simplify wage-and-hour calculations. That’s fine, but you must make sure there is an easy way for employees who work through their meal breaks to report the additional paid time.
Q. We recently fired an employee for misconduct. She now claims we have to buy out all the vacation time she had not used. Do we have a legal obligation to pay her for accrued and unused vacation time?
Employees who quit usually aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. Only those who quit for “a good reason caused by their employer” are eligible for benefits.
Ignoring an employee’s persistent complaints that she’s being paid less than her male counterparts may amount to a willful violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA). And willful violations add a year onto the two years of back-pay liability.
The federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) is supposed to ensure that men and women doing the same job aren’t paid differently based on their sex. But employees can’t win EPA lawsuits simply by comparing their rates of pay and job titles. Lots of factors unrelated to gender may in­­fluence pay.
California’s Labor Code requires employers to give covered em­­ployees a 10-minute break or rest period during each four-hour work period. Many em­­ployers have wondered how far they have to go to make sure employees take their breaks ...
Tax services firm Ryan & Co. measures employees’ work performance by results achieved, not hours worked. The result: an ultra-flexible workplace that allows employees to choose their hours, where they work and how much time to devote to work each day.
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