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Compensation & Benefits

Tighter compliance on small firms or more business-friendly DOL?

It could be some of both. The U.S. Labor Department recently announced it’s creating a new position, a director of compliance assistance who will make sure small businesses comply with regulations. …

Check the fine print on legal-liability insurance

When a former executive sued his company for defamation, the company turned to its umbrella liability insurance policy to cover the defense cost. But the insurer refused and a federal appeals …

More companies opt for mandatory vacation, but is it legal?

Continuing a cost-cutting step they took last year, some companies, especially tech firms, are again asking employees to take mandatory vacations. The forced time off, paid or not, is catching …

Payroll records: Fine-tune exempt, nonexempt timekeeping

THE LAW. Federal wage-and-hour laws don’t require you to have a time clock, but they do require you to have a reliable system to keep track of employees’ hours and pay …

When to Pay for Rest Breaks


Q. What’s the deal on paying workers for rest breaks? —J.S., California

Avoid Two-Tier Benefit Policy


Q. We offer all employees two weeks’ paid vacation a year. If an employee chooses a 100-percent, full-commission pay structure, how should we set her pay for vacation? The employee wants to take her annual pay divided by 52 weeks, but we feel that’s unfair to the employees who are on salary plus commission, because their vacation pay is based on their base salary divided by 52 weeks. Is there a correct and legal way to figure this? —R.D., Florida

Be Cautious in Requiring Payment From ‘Short’ Cashier


Q. Management wants to institute a policy that requires cashiers whose registers are short at night’s end to replace the disputed amount out of their own pockets. Does this violate the law? —B.B., New York

Use new weapon to fight class-action wage suits

It’s no secret that wage-and-hour class action lawsuits, in which mobs of employees sue for unpaid overtime, have skyrocketed. They can be enormously expensive. But a California appeals court ruling gives …

Employees can use vacation time toward one-year FMLA eligibility

Robert Ruder began working in management at a Maine hospital on Jan. 5, 2000. Exactly one year later, he left work for unspecified medical reasons. His employer denied his request for …

You’re free to adjust benefit plan without fear of FMLA suit

When it merged with another bank, Wells Fargo replaced its traditional employee sick- and vacation-leave policy with a paid-time-off (PTO) program and a short-term disability plan. A PTO policy combines annual …