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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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A new law for 2013 requires Califor­nia employers that pay regular commissions to provide employees with a written contract detailing the formula for calculating commissions, as well as the method of payment.
The irony wasn’t lost on execs at on­­line travel giant Expedia when they learned that most of its employees weren’t taking all of their vacation time. So the Bellevue, Wash.-based organization started paying them to go.
National Employee Benefits Day, April 2, celebrates trustees, administrators, corporate benefits practitioners and professional advisors for their dedication to providing quality benefits and the important role they play in their colleagues’ well-being.

Slalom Consulting guarantees its employees that all of its clients are local, so they don’t have to travel if they don’t want to. That guarantee draws travel-weary consultants and new grads who don’t want to stray too far from home who, in turn, keep hiring and retention rates high.

Some nonprofit Minnesota em­­ployers can opt into an alternative unemployment compensation plan that allows skipping quarterly unemployment taxes in exchange for reimbursing the state for any benefits paid. Good news for those employers: The alternative plan doesn’t affect unemployment eligibility.

An undocumented worker who is fired after claiming he isn’t being paid minimum wage can’t collect back pay after his discharge. That’s because illegal immigrants shouldn’t be working anyway.
Employees of Men’s Wearhouse dress their clients for success, and their employer dresses them. Employees reap $50 in merchandise from the Houston-based men’s clothier for every $500 they spend there.
Any employee of United Airlines who passes through O’Hare International Airport may stop by the organization’s new health clinic for treatment of routine illnesses, flu shots, employment-related physicals and other services. The free clinic also is open to United’s 10,000 Chicago-area employees.
Under the federal sequester, a federal contractor may be forced to rejigger its workforce through reduced hours or furloughs. The problem: Under the FLSA, exempts must receive a full week’s pay if they do any work during the week. You have three options.
Oddly, determining how many employees you have is one of the trickiest parts of the health care reform law. The answer matters: You could wind up paying big penalties next year if you miscalculate.
Popularity pays in the form of a fatter paycheck, according to a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The Affordable Care Act requires employers of 50 or more full-time em­­ployees to offer them affordable health benefits—or pay free-rider penalties. Benefits are affordable if employees’ contributions don’t exceed 9.5% of their household income and employers pay at least 60%. The IRS has created three optional affordability safe harbors.
Among Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” are 11 with extras so unusual that the magazine singled them out as “top perks.”
If you use a time clock, you probably also use a rounding method so employees who clock in a little early or clock out slightly late are only paid for their scheduled time. The presumption is that over time, employees will clock in both early and late. Fortunately, a recent California appeals court decision sanctions this common-sense practice.
The health care reform law required employers to begin notifying employees on March 1 about the availability of state-based exchanges as an option for buying health insurance. But acknowledging the obvious—that the state exchanges are nowhere near ready to go live—the Department of Labor has temporarily rescinded the notice requirement.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the IRS’ request to rehear its decision in U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. Having run the gamut at the appellate level, it’s likely that the IRS will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A petition to the Supreme Court is due April 4.
Convenience store chain Sheetz has cut the ribbon at a new employee health and wellness center next to its distribution center in Claysburg, Pa. Its “Center for Shwellness” partners with Marathon Health to offer free health and wellness coaching for employees and their families.
Workers receiving unemployment benefits are encouraged to take available positions even if it looks like the job may be unsuitable. As incentive, taking the job and then quitting within 30 days won’t bar continued benefits. The date that counts isn’t the last day worked, but the day the worker gave notice.
Each year, the Human Rights Campaign rates Fortune 500 companies on how well they treat lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Five Pennsylvania firms couldn’t have scored any better, earning perfect 100s from the gay-rights advocacy organization.

Q. Can we give an exempt employee a bonus of extra vacation days in addition to the standard accrued time off outlined in our employee handbook?

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