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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.

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If your company has a top pay level for each job classification, you probably end up giving some older workers smaller raises than less-tenured employees. That’s fine as long as you can explain that the difference is because of your wage schedules, not age discrimination.
Ignoring an employee’s persistent complaints that she’s being paid less than her male counterparts may amount to a willful violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA). And willful violations add a year onto the two years of back-pay liability.
The federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) is supposed to ensure that men and women doing the same job aren’t paid differently based on their sex. But employees can’t win EPA lawsuits simply by comparing their rates of pay and job titles. Lots of factors unrelated to gender may in­­fluence pay.
California’s Labor Code requires employers to give covered em­­ployees a 10-minute break or rest period during each four-hour work period. Many em­­ployers have wondered how far they have to go to make sure employees take their breaks ...
California employees who report to work and then are sent home are generally entitled to at least a partial payment for that day. If you regularly have mandatory workplace meetings that fall outside some employees’ regular workday, consider scheduling those meetings for a specific time period. As the following case shows, that could save some money.
Q. We are planning to change a salesperson’s pay from straight salary to a lower salary plus commission. Can we do this without violating wage laws?
Q. Due to recent snowstorms, some exempt employees have not been able to get to work. Can we dock the pay or accrued leave of employees who do not come to work? Can we do so even if the office is closed?
Many employers automatically deduct meal period breaks from time worked to simplify wage-and-hour calculations. That’s fine, but you must make sure there is an easy way for employees who work through their meal breaks to report the additional paid time.
Q. We hired a temp worker through an agency while one of our employees was out on a 12-week pregnancy leave. Five weeks after she started with us, she was injured at work. Are we responsible for her workers’ comp claim, or is the temp agency responsible?

Some jobs require employees to always show up on time. Nursing homes, day care centers, hospitals and the like are obvious examples. Draconian attendance policies may be necessary to ensure coverage. As long as they allow for FMLA leave and consider reasonable accommodations for disabled workers, such rules are fine.

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