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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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Pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca has agreed to settle a gender pay bias claim, and the consent decree that spells out the terms of the settlement could affect North Carolina women who work for the company. Under the settlement, 124 female pharmaceutical sales specialists will split $250,000.

The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that an employer can’t seek dam­ages under a covenant-not-to-­compete if the underlying agreement doesn’t satisfy standards set out in Texas state law. That means all your efforts to protect the company from a former employee are wasted unless the agree­ment is rock solid.

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Warren Daniel would require North Caro­­linians who have been on unemployment for more than eight weeks to volunteer five hours a week in order to continue receiving benefits. The volunteer commitment would rise to 10 hours per week for those on the unemployment rolls for more than a year.

Baltimore-based sports apparel company Under Armour doesn’t require its 3,363 employees to be athletes, but it does look for new hires with a love of sports and fitness. Reason: Team spirit is core to the company’s culture.

On average, U.S. workers took only 14 of the 18 vacation days they earned last year, a total of 448 million unused days. French workers, on the other hand, took 35 of the 37 vacation days they were due.
By now, you probably give workers the option of direct deposit in addition to paper checks. But more employers are beginning to offer a third option—payroll debit cards, or “pay cards.” But before you call your payroll provider or bank to set up a pay card option, understand the legal and practical risks.
As you manage the scheduling head­­aches that come with summer vacations, it may be time to entirely reconsider how you handle employee leave. One option: Switch from a traditional time-off program to a paid time off (PTO) bank. Before you make the switch, you’ll ask some basic questions:

Marketing software company HubSpot ditched its vacation policy a year ago, along with paid-time-off forms and vaca­tion rollover. Now, if employees want to take time off, they just take it. CEO Brian Halligan calls the standard corporate vacation policy “a relic of an era when people worked 9 to 5 in an office.”

Q. One of the owners suggested that paid time off for employees should not be a set benefit, but a bonus. Can we just award paid time off as a bonus to some employees and not to others?
More employers are offering to let ­workers collect their pay on reloadable, prepaid bank cards. But make sure you know your state law: Most states prohibit employers from mandating that workers receive pay electronically.
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