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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 20-month-long American Crystal Sugar lockout is finally over. In April, 55% of the members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 167G ratified a contract that closely resembles a deal they rejected on four previous votes.
A class of 1,245 exotic dancers will split an $8 million settlement resulting from claims that the Penthouse Executive Club in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood misclassified them as independent contractors.
The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, a decision that has already set in motion a sweeping rewrite of federal rules affecting employee benefits administration and payroll operations.
The Affordable Care Act provision that allows adult children to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies through age 26 shifted at least $147 million in health care costs from patients and hospitals to insurance companies in 2011, according to a RAND Corp. study.
Here’s some good news: As long as you are willing to accommodate an employee’s medical condition, you won’t face liability for unemployment compensation if she quits. And the employee has to tell you she needs that accommodation. If she just quits, she won’t be eligible.
With North Carolina owing over $2.5 billion to the federal government, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill reforming the state’s unemployment insurance system shortly after he took office in January. The law applies to new unemployment claims filed on or after July 1, 2013.
A company that contracted to provide gate attendants for oil fields has won its battle with the DOL over whether the workers are em­­ployees or independent contractors. The decision represents a big loss for the DOL, which sought repayment of more than $6 million in back wages—and has engaged in a nationwide campaign to force more employers to recognize independent contractors as employees.
It may be time to talk to your fund administrator about adding a new feature to your organization’s portfolio of retirement benefits: the option for employees to transfer 401(k) funds into a Roth 401(k).
Q. Our company policy states that we give one week of paid vacation after one year of employment and two weeks of vacation after two years. But some employees when hired have been given two weeks of paid vacation right away. Is this legal and proper? Also, are we required to pay for unused vacation time upon termination or resignation?
Integrating its employee wellness, productivity and health care programs into a unified strategy helped Kraft Foods Group reduce its medical spending growth trend from 8% in 2009 to 1.2% in 2012.
Annual or quarterly statements for 401(k) and 403(b) retirement funds could soon include graphs showing how much monthly income employees can expect to receive from their investments.
If a worker who was hurt at work can find a doctor to testify that subsequent debilitating headaches were caused by the work injury, you can expect to continue making disability payments for a long time.
Under the Affordable Care Act, open enrollment for the individual health exchanges, or HEXs, begins Oct. 1, 2013. The outlook for the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOPs, through which small employers may buy health insurance is a bit more complicated. Here’s where things stand.
The DOL last month published an updated version of its model COBRA election notice, as well as model notices that employers can use to tell employees about their options for buying health insurance through the new state exchanges.
Employers will be able to offer rich incentives for employees to participate in workplace wellness programs under final rules issued May 29 by the Obama administration.

Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals will be able to buy health insurance ­policies through individual health exchanges (HEXs). States may create their own HEXs, and may create SHOPs (Small Business Health Options Program). This chart summarizes the states’ current positions on HEXs, SHOPs and whether they will expand their Medicaid rolls.

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA. Since then, a primary concern for employers has been how to effectively prepare for the employer mandate requiring most employers to provide health insurance benefits. Although the mandate takes effect in 2014, implementation of several requirements will depend on cir­­cumstances that unfold this year.
After being locked out since Oct. 21, 2012, musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra are prepared to complete a shortened season with a smaller contingent. A tentative agreement ending the lockout cuts the orchestra from 34 members to 28 and lowers the guaranteed minimum salary to $60,000—19% less than the previous contract that expired last September.
Sometimes, employees quit in a huff over a pay dispute and then try to collect unemployment compensation benefits. They may argue that a pay cut justified their resignation. But unless the reduction is substantial—usually greater than 20% of previous pay—the resignation wouldn’t be justified.
Courts hearing unemployment comp cases have recently been friendly to former employees seeking new jobs. However, now that the job market is recovering, some of that sympathy is evaporating. More and more, those seeking unemployment benefits are out of luck if they can’t show they are actively looking for work.
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