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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Q. We need to cut our payroll costs. Is there any reason we can’t cut everyone by 10%? All our employees are at-will.
Ignoring California’s wage-and-hour rules is a big mistake—no matter where an employer is based. When foreign-owned corporations assign employees to work in Cali­for­nia, California’s employment rules apply.
Q. Must we give our employees time off to vote? If so, must we pay the employees for the time they spend voting?

Q. Our employees punch a time clock and then go to job sites. Sometimes they don’t take a lunch break. But when they do, they’re unable to clock out and back in, so there’s no time record. Can a manager adjust the timecard by marking through the daily total and deducting the lunch time?

Do you require employees to complete after-hours training that will ben­­efit your operations but isn’t directly job-related? If so, you must pay them for their time, unless you can show that participation is truly voluntary.
Kelley Drye & Warren, a New York City law firm with more than 300 attorneys, had a policy of requiring partners who reached age 70 to relinquish equity in the firm, receiving only discretionary bonuses. Too bad for the firm that Eugene D’Ablemont knew the law ...

Q. Management wants to institute a policy requiring cashiers whose registers are short at night’s end to replace the disputed amount out of their own pockets. Would that violate the law?

It’s a benefit designed to retain long-term employees, but the practice of allowing retiring government ­workers to cash out unused leave may turn in­­to an actuarial time bomb. The prob­­lem: Local governments are shedding employees at a record pace, often through early-retirement packages. And the leave liability is largely unfunded.
Have you thought about converting employees into independent contractors to save money? Then make sure you tell them they won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation. If you don’t, they may be eligible.
Does your health insurance or other benefit plan specifically state that it covers those who are married under Minnesota law? Then your policy terms probably apply in some unique circumstances—including when an employee is married to someone who has undergone gender reassignment surgery.