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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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Q. Is it legal for us to strongly encourage our employees to have money withheld from their paychecks to support a charity drive, like the United Way? —L.M., Texas

Q. Can we require an employee to sign an agreement to reimburse the company for half the expenses related to training, if the employee resigns within six months? —S.D., Northern Marianas

The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates employee benefit plans, usually covers employees' claims related to their benefits. However, Texas employers who opt out of the state workers' compensation program may receive a nasty surprise ...

The New Jersey Department of Labor recently announced the 2007 benefit levels for unemployment insurance, disability insurance and workers' compensation. Under New Jersey law, those benefits are adjusted annually, based on fluctuations in the statewide average weekly wage ...

The U.S. Labor Department revamped the FLSA regulations in 2004 to help employers and employees understand the rules better. But, so far, the HR world has only seen more overtime lawsuits, not less ...

Q. We've had a number of suspicious injuries at work this year. We don't want to jump to conclusions, but how can we determine if these injuries are part of a workers' comp insurance fraud scheme? —K.H., Mississippi

If you outsource employee training programs that include self-defense or other physically demanding work, be aware that the waivers signed by your employees may mean you will have to pay for any injuries ...

Hudson County's Living Wage Law has survived a constitutional challenge brought by a county contractor. The suit alleged that the law imposed restrictions on some businesses but not others, which violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause ...

Q. Can we require employees to be on our health insurance plan? We’re a small business and to meet the requirements for group insurance, we require all employees that aren’t covered by a spouse’s policy to enroll. We pay 75 percent of the premium. —G.P., Oklahoma

HR Law 101: Your contract with an independent contractor establishes payment rates and methods, the nature of the work to be completed, the deadline for completing the job and performance standards. No matter how casual the relationship or how well you know the contractor, you should always have a signed contract describing the work to be done ... 

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