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.

Gonnella Bakery has settled with Mexican workers at its plant in Aurora who claimed they were harassed because of their national origin. The workers said one manager often made derogatory comments about Mexican workers and consistently assigned them more difficult duties and work schedules.

Q. We require certain employees to be on-call for customer service needs that arise after hours. Employees carry a pager while on-call, and are expected to respond to pages right away. Do we have to pay our employees regular wages, or a minimum number of hours and overtime for being on call?
Q. An ex-employee who we fired just filed an FMLA lawsuit against us. In addition to our company, he also named as co-defendants the HR, benefits and plant managers, along with me, the president and CEO. We believe the employee was legally terminated. Is there any risk in having our corporate attorney represent all of the defendants in the lawsuit?
Q. One of our employees recently took a company-issued BlackBerry with him on a business trip. The employee lost the BlackBerry while out on the town, and the company would like to have him pay for a replacement. Can we deduct the cost of a replacement BlackBerry from his paycheck?

Under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), employees engaged in administrative work aren’t eligible to collect overtime pay. But what about employees who spend a lot of time in the field—calling on clients or prospects, for example?

It often becomes apparent that managers who were supposed to prevent discrimination weren’t doing an effective job. For the good of the company, it’s sometimes necessary to fire those bosses for tolerating discrimination or harassment. And those managers will probably sue, too. Good news: You can cite their attitudes to show they weren’t performing their jobs to your reasonable expectations.
Companies everywhere are scrutinizing their payrolls and full-time employee head counts with an eye toward cost-saving measures ... and independent contractors. Just be aware that you'll need a concrete policy for managers to steer clear of the IRS and legal headaches in hiring outside workers.

Company.com, an information and lead generation portal for small and midsize businesses, has provided a list of 10 tips for helping businesses avoid IRS tax audits. Take these suggestions to heart. If you follow them diligently, you can dramatically reduce exposure to an audit.

Companies that use freelancers, consultants, per diems, long-term temps and other contingent workers are under assault. The federal government is poised to take a leading role in cracking down on employers it suspects of misclassifying employees as independent contractors. The feds aren’t alone ...

Question: According to the company grapevine, a couple of managers are pressuring their employees to attend and play on their softball teams at the company’s annual picnic. Would these employees need to be paid for this time?