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 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.
Q. With the new school year under way, can you ­give me a rundown on the rules governing our obligation to grant workers time off to participate in their children’s school-­related activities?
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that former employees who believe they are missing out on ERISA-protected benefits have four years to sue for those benefits after their request is formally denied.
Former Texas Southern University women’s basketball coach Surina Dixon has won $730,000 in a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit she filed after being fired in 2008, shortly after she was hired.
Q. We just fired an employee after discovering that he stole $5,000 from the company. Do we have to pay the employee his final paycheck or can we apply that paycheck toward the $5,000 he owes us?
Employees who lie when confronted about wrongdoing are ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits—at least if the lie concerned something about which the employer could reasonably expect the truth.
Employees placed on performance improvement plans (PIP) sometimes suspect that they are about to be fired. But that doesn’t mean they can jump the gun, quit and apply for unemployment compensation.

Employees who receive workers’ compensation payments for on-the-job injuries are assumed to have retired when they hit age 67. But a recent lawsuit argued that workers’ comp payments had to continue past that cutoff age because an employer had negotiated a legal settlement that didn’t specify that the payments would end at age 67. Fortunately, the Supreme Court of Minnesota has ruled otherwise.

The EEOC and the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) have settled claims that the company denied benefits and locked out disabled workers before a plant shutdown in Fremont.