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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Conventional wisdom says that paying employees well goes a long way toward making them feel like they’re treated fairly. Not necessarily. Employees don’t consider pay or salary increases as the top factor in determining whether they are rewarded fairly, according to a new study.

During these difficult economic times, small and midsize businesses are looking for ways to reduce their employment costs—while maintaining employee benefits and gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Many employers are looking at alternative staffing models to meet those objectives.

’Tis the season for employees to be stressed and distracted by online shopping, post-party hangovers, visiting relatives, end-of-year deadlines, money woes and sugar-induced belly­aches. Here’s what to watch out for when the holidays are just around the corner.

The IRS says 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 ­personal-use minutes for payroll purposes.
Employers can regulate what employees do away from work—but only within narrow limits. There are often good reasons to. Some off-duty acts reflect poorly on employers, raise insurance costs and create conflicts of interest. Here's how to make the call.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the sweeping federal health-care reform law enacted in 2010, deciding the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s signature domestic policy achievement. No matter how the High Court rules, its decision could affect HR and employee benefits for years to come.
For plan years beginning Sept. 23, 2011, unless the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants a waiver, group health plans that impose annual or lifetime limits on the dollar value of essential benefits are restricted to imposing an annual limit of $1.25 million.
The state of Illinois has taken a series of steps to cut employers’ workers’ compensation costs. Employers should consult with their workers’ comp carriers to ensure workplace injury reporting procedures and posted notices are up-to-date and comply with the new law. The following reforms took effect Sept. 1:
The Fair Labor Standards Act grants many rights to workers, in­­cluding the right to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek. It does not, however, prevent employers from lowering hourly wages if they choose to do so.

The FMLA was enacted to let workers briefly put their careers on hold to tend to pressing personal matters like illness, childbirth and adoption, eldercare and other covered events. It was not designed to enable them to avoid discipline. That’s why the law specifically states that employers don’t have to give returning employees benefits they would not have received if they hadn’t taken FMLA leave.

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