What the Legislative Landscape Means for Day-to-Day HR

I had the opportunity to spend time at a SHRM Regional Business Meeting this past weekend.  The best speaker I heard was SHRM’s VP of Governmental Affairs, Mike Aitken.  And I don’t even like hearing about legal issues! If you are in the Southeast, he is coming to Montgomery, Alabama to speak at the ALSHRM Legislative Conference this week- February 16thRegister here if you want to go; I would highly encourage it.

He covered how the current legislative landscape will most likely affect HR day-to-day. Here’s a recap of what he said:

  1. Immigration
  • Increased I-9 scrutiny. Make sure you are using the new form and diligently keeping and protecting the documentation.  Be ready for an audit.
  • Increased focus on employment based visa process. Here’s a good article that speculates on what all this will mean.  https://www.law360.com/articles/880762/employment-based-immigration-and-trump-what-to-expect The main thing I took away is that HB-1 visas will likely see an increase in salary requirements to obtain.  If you rely heavily on foreign-based workers to fill in demand jobs, this could really affect how you conduct hiring.
  1. Workplace Policy
  • Paid Leave Changes. At the advice of his daughter, Trump has come out in support of paid leave changes. Read more here: Paid Parental Leave
  • Compensation Equity. Same song, different verse of the above.
  • Labor Management Issues. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Trump isn’t your run of the mill Republican.   Mike shared with us that 46% of union households supported him and the second group he met with in the White House was organized labor.   It will be very interesting to see what happens here.   Key advice, treat your employees right if you aren’t unionized because it could get easier for labor to organize.
  • Broadly, policy that will reduce regulations that encourage employers to do business overseas instead of in the US will happen. Interesting that the first two listed here are regulations limiting employer choice on how to do business….
  1. Health Reform, of course.
  • Support of the employer-based system will continue. Don’t think health benefits aren’t ever going to not be a part of your job in HR if you have over a certain number of employees.   Interesting fact that was shared is that 61% of Americans still get their health insurance coverage from employer based plans (not Medicare and Medicaid).
  • Repealing individual employer mandates
  • Expect the Cadillac tax to stay.
  1. Tax Reform
  • Emphasis on employer sponsored benefits and incentives to do so as well as an increased emphasis on employers supporting employees saving for retirement (fear of social security going away anyone?)
  • Educational and training incentives may be reduced as one way to combat the deficient. If you are using or thinking about using federal dollars or federal tax breaks (much of which flows through to the states and is distributed by states) you better go ahead and do it now.
Mary Ila Ward

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