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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While salary budgets are up this year—merit raises are running near 3.0% compared with 2.7% in 2010—some still-skittish employers are more likely to dole out title raises rather than extra cash. The danger: Organizations may give gratuitous no-pay promotions instead of using the practice as a selective ­reward and retention strategy.
For the first time since 1980, the rate of U.S. inflation (3.2% for the 12 months ending in April) is running higher than the average salary budget increase (2.8% average salary budget increase in 2011).

Pregnant employees of Verizon Wire­less can keep in shape with Pilates for Pregnancy classes and nutrition seminars. They also can participate in online physician seminars throughout their pregnancies. The perks are part of the organization’s wellness program.

Q. One of our employees ran an errand for us to pick up $700 in cash. He says he lost it. Can we make him pay it back?
In what could be the start of a national trend, Connecticut lawmakers OK’d a new law that requires employers with 50 or more workers in Connecticut to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to their “service workers.”

Issue: Maintaining personnel files is a chore, but it's the most important element in defending lawsuits and regulatory claims. Risk: Failing to organize your files correctly exposes you to civil ...

Employees who believe they haven’t been properly paid for the time they spend getting into and out of protective gear are engaging lawyers and filing class-action lawsuits.
Restaurants and retailers often have strict dress codes for employees; for example, black polo shirts and khaki pants. These aren’t uniforms—there aren’t any logos on the shirts—but the goal is to create a consistent look for employees. The best approach may be to pay for employees’ clothing rather than risk class-action litigation over who should be covering the cost.

When an employee owes the company money, it may be tempting to simply deduct it from his or her next paycheck. But in New York, that can be a big mistake. Over the past couple of years, the New York State Department of Labor has issued several opinion letters that significantly narrow its interpretation of New York Labor Law Section 193.

Employees who quit after being told they may be terminated aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. That’s especially true if quitting provides another benefit, such as the ability to use the employer as a reference.
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