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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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The total number of people who worked from home or another remote location for an entire day at least once a month has declined for the first time since the non­profit WorldatWork began measuring telework in 2003. The pull-back from telework reflects a psychological shift driven by the anemic economy, according to authors of a WorldatWork report.

Work/life issues are no longer women’s domain. Surveys by the Boston College Cen­ter for Work & Family and World­at­Work agree that men are struggling to balance the need to both care for their families and work to support them. Here are 11 recommendations from the surveys’ authors:

The Society for Human Resource Management reports that 59% of employees miss work at some point during the year because child- or elder-care arrangements fall through. Home improvement retailer Home Depot has decided to tackle the problem for its employees by providing a backup dependent-care benefit.
Q. One of our executives will be making day trips once a week to Boston from Philadelphia for a special assignment. Do we have to compensate the secretary (she is nonexempt) for her travel time to and from Boston?

Under interim final regulations for the Affordable Care Act that were issued last year, grandfathered group health plans—those in place on March 23, 2010, when the law was enacted—don’t have to comply with substantial portions of the health care reform law. But there’s a catch: Those plans are limited in the changes they can make.

The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay women and men equally for substantially equal work. Gender can’t be a salary factor. That doesn’t mean employers don’t have considerable flexibility when setting salaries. The fact is that dozens of reasons that have nothing to do with the applicant’s sex may jus­tify different pay scales.

Employees sometimes think that employers have to accommodate all their schedule requests. Not usually. Often, employees fired for refusing to work their scheduled hours expect to receive unemployment benefits.
An employee who reports a serious safety hazard and stops coming to work after the employer refuses to fix the hazard may collect unemployment benefits. But that’s not true if the employee doesn’t give the employer a chance to remedy the problem and just quits out of fear.

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Warren Daniel would require North Caro­­linians who have been on unemployment for more than eight weeks to volunteer five hours a week in order to continue receiving benefits. The volunteer commitment would rise to 10 hours per week for those on the unemployment rolls for more than a year.

Employers are now free to set the percentage of employee tips that can be placed in a tip pool. In years past, several court decisions conflicted with the U.S. Department of Labor’s position restricting the amount of tips an employer could require to be pooled.
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