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.

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.

Some people will do anything to get out of work early, including lying about their child’s health. One employer did the smart thing and demanded proof when it became suspicious.
Employers are now free to set the percentage of employee tips that can be placed in a tip pool. In years past, several court decisions conflicted with the U.S. Department of Labor’s position restricting the amount of tips an employer could require to be pooled.
A federal judge has added two New Jersey women to a national class-­action lawsuit against defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The women claim they were put on slower career paths that provided fewer promotion possibilities and lower pay than men in comparable jobs.
Beware if you allow employees to clock in early, but tell them not to start work before their scheduled start times. If early clock-ins are routinely unpaid, there may be a class-action lawsuit brewing.
Employees who fail to return to work after taking medical leave can’t claim unemployment benefits if there was a job available when they were medically cleared to work.
Q. We have an employee who has been off work for more than 10 months because of a workers’ comp-covered injury. We have no idea when she may possibly be able to return to work. Are we absolutely required under the law to give this employee her job back whenever she believes she is ready to return to work, no matter how long she has been out?

No doubt, you already raised hourly pay for your minimum-wage employees. The new Florida rate took affect on June 1, 2011, and raised the minimum wage to $7.31 per hour. That’s just a few cents more than the federal rate of $7.25. But have you put up the new poster in a conspicuous place?

Employers are now free under federal law to set the percentage of employee tips that can be placed in a tip pool. But Minnesota employers need to be aware of a crucial difference between federal and state laws.