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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 Obama administration proposed new rules in August that require employers and health insurers to give health plan participants a clearer picture of their benefits in plain English. The rules propose a new template for the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC).

Five Detroit companies are offering employees cash incentives to live down­­town. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michi­­gan, Compuware Corp., DTE Energy, Quicken Loans and Strategic Staffing Solutions will give employees more than $4 million over five years if they move into any of six downtown neighborhoods.

Here’s something to consider when reviewing your pay and compensation packages: Employers that lose an Equal Pay Act claim may end up paying double damages.

It’s a golden rule in most businesses: Salaries must be kept secret. It's almost universally accepted that mayhem would ensue in the workplace if people knew what their co-workers, their managers or—gasp—the CEO was making. Three major reasons why secret salaries are silly, according to consultant Alexander Kjerulf:

Beginning March 23, 2012, all group health plans—including grandfathered plans, self-insured plans and plans not covered by ERISA—must provide employees and beneficiaries with a simple explanation of their benefits and a uniform glossary covering basic health insurance and medical terms.
Employer-provided cell phones are no longer a taxable fringe benefit. That means employees don’t have to pay federal income tax on any personal use of their phones—and you can quit keeping track of employees’ personal-use minutes. Read the new IRS guidance here.
The Social Security Administration has announced that the taxable wage base for the Social Security portion of FICA will increase to $110,100 in 2012. That’s a 3.1% hike over the 2011 wage base of $106,800.
The Social Security Administration has announced that the taxable wage base for the Social Security portion of FICA will increase to $110,100 in 2012. That’s a 3.1% hike over the 2011 wage base of $106,800. The tax rate for the employee portion of payroll taxes stands at 4.2% ... at least through Feb. 29.
One goal of last year’s federal health-care reform legislation was to make it more affordable for small business owners to offer health insurance benefits to employees. So, tucked into the Affordable Care Act is a little-noticed but potentially invaluable provision that could save small businesses thousands of dollars per year.
Budget woes have led 10 states—Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wisconsin—to pass laws in the first half of 2011 to reduce unemployment insurance benefits or tighten eligibility requirements—or both.
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