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Compensation & Benefits

Go for the gold: Craft waivers that release you from all lawsuits

The teachers and students in the classroom where Mary Jefferson was a part-time aide regularly used derogatory terms for females, such as bitch, slut and whore. As a result, Jefferson filed …

Administrative staff: Who’s exempt, who’s not?

Claims representatives at Farmers Insurance Exchange typically worked beyond 40 hours a week. But the company didn’t cough up overtime pay because it said those workers were …

Keep age out of mix when deciding who gets education benefits

Dan Esberg wanted to cash in on his company’s educational assistance program. The company paid Esberg $16,000 for his bachelor’s degree after he had turned 50. But when Esberg decided to …

State may trump your CBA on family leave.

Under Oscar Mayer’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), paid sick leave doesn’t start until at least the fourth day of absence. But Wisconsin’s labor department says that under the state’s family leave …

Supreme Court says ERISA trumps state beneficiary laws

The U.S. Supreme Court recently gave payroll administrators a break under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by ruling that they don’t have to monitor conflicting state laws regarding beneficiaries. …

Exemption for computer staff only covers highly skilled

The Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemption for computer professionals is narrower than some employers assume, and high-tech employee groups are spreading the word. To be exempt from overtime pay …

‘Downtime’ pay: When to pay for travel, rest, on-call time

It’s a deceptively simple concept: You have to pay nonexempt employees for every hour they work. But employers often trip over interpretation of that law when it comes to exceptions such …

Keep pay in line with work performed


Q. A salaried supervisor was unable to handle the stress of his job and requested a transfer. Six months ago, we moved him to a rank-and-file hourly position, but we left him at the higher salary. I think I’m being unfair to the other co-workers in that position. May I reduce his wages to the hourly rate? —C.T., Iowa

Paying for holiday work can endanger exempt status


Q. Our company policy says employees who work on holidays are paid time-and-a-half. If an exempt employee works on a holiday, can I pay him time-and-a-half? —R.E., Iowa

Don’t let timecard mistake delay prompt payments


Q. Because of a problem with timecards, we couldn’t tell how much pay we owed some employees. What is our obligation to pay employees if we can’t determine the exact number of hours worked? Is there any penalty for the delayed payment? — I.V., Wisconsin