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.

HR pros spend a lot of their time ensuring that their companies comply with the law so they don’t wind up in court and lose big bucks to a jury verdict. But more and more, they find themselves defending not their employers’ bottom lines, but their own bank accounts. How big is the risk? Try six figures—or more.
The DOL has requested public comment on its proposed pay-and-benefit database for federal contractors. The database would show what pay and benefits federal contractors offered to employees with an eye toward spotting potential pay disparities that may discriminate against women and minority employees.
Q. We operate a fitness club and employ many fitness class instructors. They have time between classes that ranges from 15 minutes to several hours. They are free to spend that time anyway they want, on or off premises. Do we have to pay them for the time between classes?
While salary budgets are up this year—merit raises are running near 3.0% compared with 2.7% in 2010—some still-skittish employers are more likely to dole out title raises rather than extra cash. The danger: Organizations may give gratuitous no-pay promotions instead of using the practice as a selective ­reward and retention strategy.
For the first time since 1980, the rate of U.S. inflation (3.2% for the 12 months ending in April) is running higher than the average salary budget increase (2.8% average salary budget increase in 2011).

Pregnant employees of Verizon Wire­less can keep in shape with Pilates for Pregnancy classes and nutrition seminars. They also can participate in online physician seminars throughout their pregnancies. The perks are part of the organization’s wellness program.

Q. One of our employees ran an errand for us to pick up $700 in cash. He says he lost it. Can we make him pay it back?
In what could be the start of a national trend, Connecticut lawmakers OK’d a new law that requires employers with 50 or more workers in Connecticut to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to their “service workers.”

Issue: Maintaining personnel files is a chore, but it's the most important element in defending lawsuits and regulatory claims. Risk: Failing to organize your files correctly exposes you to civil ...

The Court of Appeal of California has finally clarified how much em­­ployers owe employees who don’t get their required meal and other breaks. The penalty is two hours of pay per day if workers missed both types of breaks.