I have already heard a webinar and read a couple of articles on how Trump’s presidency will affect the world of employment. The changes that occur will happen due to a change in focus, a change in policy and a change in personnel.
Changes in Personnel
According to numerous pieces there are nearly 4000 positions to fill. In fact there is a page where anyone wishing to serve in the new administration can put in an application. There will be nearly 1700 positions requiring Senate approval. The big positions that will turn over will be agency Secretary positions, along with the Assistant Secretary positions. This will bring new leadership to the Department of Labor, OSHA, the OFCCP, the EEOC and the NLRB. What changes will this bring about?
The board will revert to a Republican controlled majority, as required by the National Labor Relations Act. This could mean that many of the union friendly decisions made in the last 8 years could be reversed. These include the “quicky election” and views on policies including Section 7 language. The number of union-biased decisions will also slow down.
It is likely that the Chair, Jenny Yang, will be replaced. In addition the General Counsel, David Lopez, has already announced that he will be leaving. With new Republican commissioners on the EEOC we may see a shifting focus. This includes a rescinding of the new EEO-1 report obligations to report pay data, which was due to start in 2018. It is also likely that the EEOC will have their budget tightened, which will cut down on the number of systemic cases they can pursue, according to a report by Seyfarth Shaw.
Department of Labor
The DOL, which includes the Wage & Hour division, OSHA and the OFCCP, will see a new Secretary of Labor along with the Assistant Secretaries that head these divisions. One thing that is clear is that we will not see a new Secretary of Labor announcing that “employers are thieves, stealing wage” as previous Secretaries have.
Many employers are hoping that changes to the FLSA will be rescinded. Unfortunately that ship will have already sailed and that will be hard to reverse. It is possible that the level of salary may be changed and then phased in, but many companies will have already made those changes and may be hesitant to change again. We will see. I think it is likely we will see an increase in the hourly minimum wage to $10 per hour, phased in over a three year period.
Actions by OSHA and the OFCCP may become less punitive.
President-Elect Trump has already announced that rather than totally scraping the Affordable Care Act he sees the value in keeping major portions of it intact and will make some revisions, such as raising the size of companies that have to comply, thus relieving smaller companies of the burden of compliance. Again, we are too far down the road to strip it away. President Obama’s desire to impact healthcare has been achieved and even the US Chamber of Commerce is not willing to see it totally taken away.
What HR and employers need to expect
There will be many changes that we will have to deal with in the coming four years. We are moving out of a status quo period. It is unlikely however, with a Republican president and a Republican controlled Congress that we will see any radical legislation that will adversely affect employers.