Impact of 2016 Presidential Election Results on Key Employment Law Issues
While Tuesday’s election results may have been a surprise for many, especially in light of the numerous polls that signaled President-Elect Trump’s path to victory was limited, it should come as no surprise that changes in laws, orders, and policies impacting employees and employers are likely in store for the nation in President-Elect Trump’s new administration. The Andrews Kurth Kenyon labor and employment team will be watching for such changes and will be updating readers about those changes in the coming months. We will be paying particularly close attention to the following:
The DOL’s Final Overtime Rule
As detailed in our previous alerts on this issue, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) expanded its overtime rules earlier this year, which included a doubling of the “white collar” salary threshold to $47,476, effective December 1, 2016. While bipartisan attempts in Congress were unsuccessful in delaying implementation of the new rules, the Trump administration, combined with a Republican majority in both the Senate and House, could halt implementation of the new rules or eliminate them altogether. For now the new overtime rules are still scheduled to take effect on December 1, and employers should prepare accordingly.
Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”)
The Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as “Obamacare”) was a focal point of the current administration. During his campaign, President-Elect Trump stated that he would repeal and replace Obamacare, which has provided coverage to some 20 million people. It is still entirely unclear whether or when this may happen or what the alternative plan might be, but employers should be on the lookout for changes in healthcare laws.
Current Executive Orders
While many speculated a Clinton administration would continue to support and seek to expand President Obama’s push for paid maternity leave and sick leave for all employees, it remains uncertain how these issues will be addressed during Trump’s presidency. President-Elect Trump previously proposed six weeks of paid maternity leave to mothers who do not already receive leave from their employer, but many are speculating that mandatory paid leave will not be part of a proposed legislation package in the near term. In addition, it remains to be seen whether or not President-Elect Trump will reverse any of President Obama’s Executive Orders affecting federal contractors (e.g., paid sick leave, disclosure of employment and labor law violations in bids, increased minimum wage, pay equity, and LGBTQ non-discrimination provisions). For now all Executive Orders remain intact unless (and until) specifically repealed.
Minimum Wage/State Benefits
As mentioned above, there is now the potential that Executive Order 13658, which provides a minimum wage of $10.10 for all workers on federal construction and service contracts, will be rescinded by President-Elect Trump. However, those employers who are not government contractors or subcontractors should also watch for changes in the applicable minimum wage. Immediate changes to the federal minimum wage now seem unlikely, but many states have increased the minimum wage at the local level. Employers with employees in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and Washington should be prepared for increases as early as next year. Voters in these states approved various measures on Tuesday, which will lead to increases in those state’s minimum wage laws as well as mandatory sick leave in some instances.
Immigration reform has been at the forefront of President-Elect Trump’s campaign, and under his administration, employers should expect to see attempts to change the current system. This might include the nationwide expansion of E-Verify to help thwart the employment of unauthorized individuals and increased enforcement of immigration laws against both undocumented immigrants as well as employers that hire them.
Stay tuned as we continue to update you on these key employment issues and others that are impacted by the Presidential Election.