Q. One of our full-time employees, age 60, is ill and expected to be out six months. We'd like to make her position part time, because we need to hire an additional part-timer in another department. Essentially, we'd like to split her full-time job into two part-time positions. Is this legal? —D.H., Texas
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Q. We're an at-will employer. Is there a law (or advisable benchmark) regarding how long we can hire temporary staff before they must be either hired on a permanent basis or released? —D.A., Michigan
Q. Our company doesn't have a policy on night shifts, but we've asked one of our hourly employees to work from 1 to 9 p.m. without any supervision. If something should happen to the employee while on night duty, are we liable for it? I've checked with my state labor department and workers' comp office, and they say we're not. —L.R., Florida
Q. Our maternity leave policy offers paid leave for female employees who plan to return to work after the birth of the child. If the employee quits before returning to work, she's required to reimburse the company for the paid leave. Is this lawful? —A.C., Maryland
Q. We understand that employees on FMLA leave don't lose investment toward retirement plans. Leave time is counted as work time. But our policy says that if employees are out for more than 30 days, their anniversary dates will change. Accrued paid-time off and vacation time will be based on the new anniversary date. Can we do this? —K.A., Connecticut
Q. Our company pays out bonuses in the year after the work is completed, sometimes late into the first quarter. If an employee resigns prior to the bonus payout date (say in January), do we have to pay that employee the bonus? —A.G., South Carolina
Q. At our university, the special-events supervisors must occasionally hire people. We currently don't pay for their time involved in interviewing job candidates. I think we should pay them for that time, but I was told education institutions are exempt from pay laws. Is that true? —D.D., West Virginia
Q. Can the time spent on workers' comp leave be counted against family and medical leave? —D.H., Arizona
Q. We are a small but growing construction company, and we don’t have formal policies in place. Recently, one of our employees was involved in an accident at a construction site. This is his third accident. After the second time, we had him sign a warning notice that said he’d be terminated if it happened again. We sent him for drug testing after this third accident and he came back positive for cocaine. We want to terminate him. But we suspended another worker who tested positive for marijuana. Can we fire him? —B.O., Pennsylvania
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