Reports on how much employee pay is—and isn't—rising drew readers' attention this year, along with fresh ideas on how to keep compensation practices compliant with federal and state rules and legislation. Here are six articles about compensation from SHRM Online that readers loved in 2019.

Budgets for increases to employees' pay next year are projected to barely outpace this year's pay raises, confirming that wage growth isn't accelerating much despite record-low U.S. unemployment. We looked at pay raise forecasts for 2020 and other compensation trends to watch in the new year.

Leap years, such as 2020, can be a headache for HR and payroll professionals because it results in an extra payday in the calendar year, depending on when and how employees are paid. The problem of an extra payday, however, isn't exclusive to leap years, as this article explains.

No. 3: Employers Adjust to Salary-History Bans

For HR professionals and hiring managers, complying with the patchwork of state and local laws that prohibit employers from asking job candidates to provide their salary history will require vigilance and training, so all involved know what they can and cannot ask. Expect laws banning questions about prior salary to proliferate in the new year.

No. 4: Continuous Evaluation and Variable Pay Are Transforming Company Cultures

Cutting-edge performance management and compensation practices include replacing annual performance reviews with continuous performance discussions and jettisoning merit-based salary increases for variable-pay performance rewards. It's a safe bet that these shifts in pay practices will continue next year.

No. 5: Keeping Compensation Fresh in 2019

We advised at the start of the year that given low unemployment and an outlook for continued economic growth, employers should keep compensation practices in sync with the labor market. While it turned out that neither inflation nor pay rose rapidly this year, as we head into 2020, employers should keep in mind that unanticipated developments could shake up pay rates in unexpected ways.

No. 6: Wages Stall as Companies Spend Generously to Recruit, Not Retain

New research shows that businesses are willing to spend more to hire new talent than to reward and retain current employees. The result of this decision is pay compression, as the earnings of newer, often younger, hires encroach on or outpace the pay of long-tenured workers. Replacing an experienced employee is often more expensive than keeping that employee with a pay increase—which is a good reason for employers to adjust their pay structures to limit pay compression in 2020.


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