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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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Can you zero out the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide 95% of full-time employees—those who work at least 30 hours a week—with group health benefits by cutting their work hours, so that they’re no longer considered full-time employees? One employer that allegedly did so is now defending itself against a class action lawsuit.
Do you consider your commissioned salespeople independent contractors? If you pay them a draw, they may be employees for unemployment com­­pensation purposes.
Employees who quit generally aren’t entitled to unemployment compensation. Unless something occurred that would compel a reasonable worker quit, employees won’t get benefits.
There isn’t a worse sound than someone scraping ice off their windshield at 6:30 in the morning. You don’t have to make employees choose between taking a snow day and working, if you allow them to work from home. While you’re crafting a telecommuting policy, don’t forget the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries Anthropologie and Free People face a lawsuit alleging the company’s call-in policy violates California labor law.
The Affordable Care Act is finally in full swing for all large employers. Let's get caught up to date.
Q. Many of our employees have reached the top of the current pay scale. We just instituted a salary cap. The only employees affected are those with many years of service and are well into their 50s and beyond. Some of the affected employees are angry and say this is age discrimination.
More than three-quarters of American workers say their workplace benefits package is important to their decision to take or reject a job, according to new research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is generally a fairly straightforward law—for most of the year. But winter weather—and the delays and closures that sometimes accompany it—can make wage-and-hour compliance more difficult.
Too many employers make one key common mistake when deciding which employee to classify as exempt: They think calling a worker a “manager” or “executive” in the title is all it takes. Not true.
A proposal by Pennsylvania State Sen. Don White, chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee, would allow employers to pay employees with debit cards rather than paychecks. The legislation would require granting employees free access to all of their wages.
U.S. employers continue to struggle to change the lifestyle behaviors of their employees, according to a new Towers Watson survey.
Are you throwing a holiday party for your employees this year? The year-end Christmas bash is less common than it once was.

You may have heard that the Department of Labor has been focusing some of its enforcement efforts on low-wage service industries, particularly restaurants and fast- food outlets. That’s true. But federal courts are also stepping in to ensure that low-wage employees get every penny they are entitled to. That’s what recently happened when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a tip-pooling case that the employee who makes coffee in the back (the barista) should not be participating in the restaurant’s tip pool.

Phased implementation of the ACA has kept employers busy over the past few years. Here's your cheat sheet and some tips for what’s ahead.
Money left for workers in places where tipping is typical becomes the property of the workers for which the money is intended. If employees tell you that the money is disappearing and that a supervisor is responsible, check out the allegations.

Ordinarily, owners of a business aren’t required to participate in the unemployment compensation system and don’t need to pay unemployment tax. Neither are they eligible for unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to simply create a partnership, have each “partner” contribute a token amount, and then treat them as employees.

For many employers, their most direct contact with the Afford­­able Care Act arrives this winter. Employ­­ers with 50 or more full-time-equivalent workers in 2015 must report to the IRS their offer of minimum essential and affordable health insurance to employees. Here are the details.
Q: “I work with a property management company who hires current tenants to work around the property, cleaning or doing outside work. They are currently compensated with a monthly rent credit. They put in as many hours as is necessary to get the job done, which could put them over 40 hours in a week. They sign a contract with the company to do this. Are there any issues with doing this? Should they be hired on and paid as an employee?” – Susan, Michigan
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has nixed a firefighter’s claim that he should be paid for the time it takes to get to his station and retrieve his firefighting gear before reporting to a different station.
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