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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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.
In a win for common sense, the Court of Appeals of Minnesota has reversed an unemployment compensation award to a supervisor who used obscenities at work and then drunk-dialed a subordinate more than once.
Q. We send our hourly employees to training that is related to work but is not required for employees to do their jobs. The training is on a weekend, is voluntary, and no work is performed. Are we required to pay employees for the hours they spend attending the training?
J. Roland Wood Farms, a Benson tobacco and sweet potato grower, has paid nearly $21,000 in back pay and penalties to 138 migrant workers following a DOL investigation into violations of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
As long as they don’t smoke, the 600 employees of Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital in Baltimore can get free annual physical exams and discounted medical plan premiums.
Q. We hired an intern for the summer. She was eager to work for free to add it to her résumé ... We told her that after this week we won’t need her. That’s when she said we owe her minimum wage or she’ll complain to the Department of Labor. Do we really have to pay her?
We do a good job of keeping our noses to the grindstone here in the United States, where the average employee puts in 1,798 hours per year. But we’ve got nothing on the world’s hardest-working industrialized countries.
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