1. Are we OK in keeping an H1B worker without work as long as we pay him during the project break too - at the LCA wage level.
Ans. You must pay your H-1 workers the legal wage. This is the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage. Actual wage is defined as that which you pay other similar employees in the same geographical location. So, as long as you pay the legal wage, there is no problem.
2. Is it OK to give advances - besides paying LCA wages while the person in on project and then during the project break, run the payroll for LCA wages but recover the advances (post-tax obviously) and pay only balances if any?
Ans. In my view, this is illegal for many reasons.
3. Is it OK to pay all our consulting employees a wage of 60K or the LCA wage whichever is higher, irrespective of the skill set - by making this a standard wage policy in the company.
Ans. As long as you are following the wage guidelines and paying according to the seniority level of the job, I see no issue with this arrangement. But you cannot pay level, 1, 2, 3, and 4 employees $60,000. The wage must be paid according to the job they perform.
4. Further, is it OK to give discretionary bonuses above these levels to employees that the management considers are more valuable to the company?
Ans. As long as you can objectively justify the salary variance, I see no issues with this.