It’s late November and the expectations placed on a human resources blogger this time of year usually aren’t very high. Social norms dictate that we come up with a list of the “Top Ten Things” we’re thankful for in the office or some sage advice on how to throw a fun holiday party that doesn’t end in litigation or termination. But this year is different. This year the news is a little too big to focus on best practices to prevent HR headaches after the office festivities.
We just elected a new president. Chances are you’re either still celebrating or still in shock. President-Elect Trump made many campaign promises and, while we don’t know yet which ones he will deliver on, several key promises will directly affect employers. Among the safe predictions are a focus on immigration worksite enforcement and sweeping changes and/or a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Another prediction is lifting the new payroll threshold for overtime. It’s this last item that has caused many to breath of sigh of relief. But don’t breathe too deeply!
According to SHRM, President-elect Trump can’t do much about the “December 1st effective date of the new overtime rule, which doubles the exempt salary threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to $47,476.” Even if it was a top priority of the new administration, changes would take a very long time thanks to the notice-and-comment period required by law.
So for the time being, we all need to be prepared to follow the overtime rule as written. It does appear that Trump is open to the idea of calling for a small-business exemption to the rule after he takes office in January, but by then businesses will have already made a lot of changes to comply with the rule.
It’s also possible that Trump will decide to leave the rule stand as-is. While Trump did say in a brief interview on the campaign trail that he favored a small-business exemption, any changes to the current rule could negatively impact some of his supporters, many of whom could earn more once the rule is in place.
There are many HR regulations that could see sweeping changes under a Trump administration: Minimum Wage, FLSA, Pay Equity, Family Medical Leave and Health Insurance just to name a few. All were things discussed on the campaign trail at one point or another…but will they all be changed? Much like this election, it’s nearly impossible to predict!
Our job will require something much harder than predictions. As HR Professionals, we will need to determine what the changes mean to our own organizations and which will mandate action. If we’ve already reclassified employees based on the overtime rule, will be reclassify them again if the rule is changed? Sure, it would be allowed by law, but would it be the best thing for our organization? What is legal and what is right are not always one in the same.
Don’t think about it too much… or that fourth drink at the office party will seem completely reasonable!
What potential HR changes are you looking forward to under the new administration? We’d love to hear from you. Post your comments below.