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Questions about Employee Perks Programs

Employment perks are considered by most people to be fringe benefits offered by an employer for those who are doing an exceptional job or those employees who have seniority within the company. There are times when some employees are offered employment perks while others are not and this can lead to legal questions about employee rights with regard to the company’s perks program. Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer any questions that you may have regarding employee perks programs and laws related to perks. Below are five of the top questions about perks answered by the Experts.

In California, can an employer cut an employee’s perks without notice?

Without a contract stating that the employer cannot cut an employee’s perks, the employer would normally have the right to change any perks or fringe benefit as they see fit. This means that the employer can decide how future vacation time will be earned and can usually reduce compensation plans if they want to. However, California law requires an employer to reimburse an employee for any expense - such as fuel expense - that is necessarily incurred as a result of employment.

Can an employer offer new employees perks when they do not offer the perks to older employees?

An employer can determine which employees receive company perks as long as the decision isn’t based on race, sex, age, religion, or disability bias or discrimination. Inequities seem to be common between senior and junior employees, especially in the corporate world. When it is hard to find qualified help, many companies offer new employees company stock options, larger salaries and many other perks. Usually, this means that senior employees will not be a part of the perks plan simply because they are not eligible. Generally, many employers try to buffer the difference by offering some form of token payment to senior employees, and offer to fix the future.

Is it legal for an employer to offer employment perks to upper management only?

The employer can decide which employee(s) will or will not receive bonus pay or other benefits from the company perks plan. As long as the employer’s decision isn’t based on bias or discrimination related to race, gender, age, religion, or disability, they would be within the rights to decide on all aspects of the employee perks plan. Offering company perks to upper management only is legal as long as the employer does not violate any employee discrimination laws.

Can an employer force employees to take vacation time?

Your employer can usually tell you when you can or cannot take your vacation time, or force you to use your vacation time to cover personal time off. Paid vacation and personal time off (PTO) are perks and are not regulated by law. The Fair Labor Standards Act regulates wages and overtime but it does not require that an employer pay for any time that has not been worked. This includes an employee’s vacation time, whether it is forced or not.

Is a company within their rights to change an employee’s benefit package after telling them there would not be any changes made?

Benefits are considered a job perk and an employer is generally not required by law to offer any perks to employees. This means that an employer can change employee benefits or even remove the benefits altogether, at any time that they wish. However, if an employer has a contract with an employee and that contract states that the employee’ benefits package will never change, the employer could be in breach of contract.

Whether you are an employee wanting to know about employee perks or an employer who wants to know the best approach to offering your employees extra job related perks, Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer any legal question that you have.
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