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 employers are budgeting 2.9% more for base pay in 2012, 92% plan to distribute performance-based bonuses, according to an Aon Corp. survey of 1,500 companies.
Employees who quit their jobs aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation benefits unless they legitimately believe they had no choice but to resign. But if an employer makes a genuine effort to help the employee stay and he turns down that offer, he may lose eligibility for unemployment.
Outback Steakhouse has agreed to pay $1.25 million to Minnesota em­­ployees to remedy what servers at the restaurant chain said was an illegal tip-pooling procedure under state law.
Employees who quit for medically related reasons can sometimes collect unemployment compensation if they are still ready and able to work elsewhere. However, to claim that medical reasons required resigning, employees have to prove the employer knew about but didn’t accommodate their medical problems.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, Ohio’s state minimum wage rises from $7.40 per hour to $7.70 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees increases to $3.85 per hour. Employers must still ensure that tipped workers’ wages and tips add up to the state’s new minimum wage of $7.70.

The Employee Benefits Secu­r­ity Administration (EBSA) is suing Keith Davis, owner of Elmhurst-based A.B.D. Tank & Pump Co., claiming he drained his employees’ retirement fund of $1.9 million.
The Dol has sued the United Employee Benefit Fund in Northbrook and its trustees, following an investigation by the Employee Benefits Security Admin­istration that found the defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by making improper loans.
A new law allows the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to levy fines of at least $5,000 against employers that misclassify workers and requires the em­­ployers to publicize their violations on their company websites. Em­­ployers face penalties as high as $25,000 for willfully misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

New Jersey and its public employees will pay more for health insurance coverage next year. Rates for 2012 health insurance plans will rise by an average of 9% for active state employees, 3% for retirees and a whopping 10.3% for municipal employees.

Health insurance premiums paid by employers this year rose by 9% from 2010, much faster than workers’ wages (2.1%) and general inflation (3.2%), according to a Kaiser Family Foundation annual report.
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