The Trump Administration: Top 5 Changes for HR & the Workplace
This week’s surprising election of Donald Trump means America has elected an entirely new agenda for workplace and employment issues. You can expect President-elect Trump to move quickly on issues like health care, immigration and wage-and-hour law, while overturning many of the Obama administration’s work-related executive orders.
Look for a flurry of employment-related legislative and regulatory efforts over the next two years, as President-elect Trump aims to take advantage of fully Republican-controlled Congress before midterm elections in 2018. Here are some of the employment and labor issues likely to see early action in Trump’s administration:
1. Blocking/reversing the overtime rules? Trump himself cannot do anything to prevent the U.S. Department of Labor’s raising of the overtime exemption salary threshold (set to jump to $47,476 on Dec. 1). However, his election could embolden state attorneys general and business groups that have sued to delay implementation until their lawsuit can be heard in Texas. Trump does oppose the overtime rules and had called for small business exemptions during the campaign. As president, he could ask the DOL to alter or reverse the rules.
2. Repeal and replace the ACA? During the campaign, Trump vowed that, “On day one of the Trump administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” He would replace it with a series of reforms to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines, make insurance premiums tax deductible and promote high-deductible health savings accounts. Any bid to overturn the law will face stiff resistance from insurance companies and health systems. Even if repeal legislation is passed, dismantling the ACA’s infrastructure will take years.
3. New immigration duties, restrictions? Along with Trump’s plans to build a physical border wall are proposals to use employers as a wall against undocumented workers taking American jobs. He is advocating for a nationwide, mandatory employer use of the E-Verify system, which electronically screens new hires for U.S. work eligibility. Trump also wants to put new limits on certain guest worker programs (like the J-1 or H-1B visas), which could hurt your ability to staff certain jobs. The president-elect also aims to roll back certain executive actions of the previous administration, including those allowing work authorization for certain authorized immigrants.
4. Baby steps towards paid leave? Trump has proposed expanding unemployment insurance benefits to cover up to six weeks of paid leave for new mothers. His proposal doesn’t include new fathers or adoptive parents, and it would not extend to other forms of leave covered by the FMLA (personal illness, child’s illness, etc.). He also wants families to be able to fully deduct the cost of child care from their taxes. Democrats have been pushing for more expansive paid leave initiatives similar to those enacted in various states and cities recently.
5. Higher minimum wage, fewer regulations? During the campaign, Trump said he thought the minimum wage should be lower, although he later said he favored raising the rate to $10 per hour. While the current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, several states and localities have gone as high as $15. President-elect Trump is also calling for a temporary pause on new federal regulations and a review of old rules to see which ones should be killed. In an effort to grow jobs, he also aims to reduce the tax rate on business from 35% to 15%.
The bottom line: This election result was a huge surprise, but don’t be caught flat-footed on the big changes coming your way. Join me March 29 to 31 in Las Vegas to discover the impact that a new president, a friendlier Congress and a mass of new regulators will have on the workplace and your job. Plus, you’ll have a fabulous time with your peers at Bellagio!