This installment of our ongoing series prognosticating about the new Presidential administration focuses on the regulatory environment employers may face. President-elect Trump has promised to revoke a number of the more employee-friendly measures that the Obama Administration has passed over the previous eight years. Additionally, Ivanka Trump, who was influential throughout her father’s campaign, has reiterated her intention to fight for equal pay for women and family leave policies.
Government Contractors: During his campaign, Trump emphasized the need to loosen regulations to give federal contractors more control over their workforce. This would come as welcome relief to federal contractors who faced a series of Executive Orders regulating their workplace policies that Trump may amend or revoke. For example, on July 31, 2014, President Obama signed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order to require prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations and give agencies guidance on how to consider labor violations when awarding federal contracts.
Do not underestimate the impact of these changes, though, even if they only apply to federal contractors. Throughout his campaign, Trump expressed the belief that a smaller federal workforce would lead to less corruption and higher efficiency. With a smaller federal workforce, reliance on federal contractors may surge. This is particularly true if Congress passes the trillion dollar infrastructure spending bill advocated by Trump’s staff.
Overtime: As noted here, a federal court recently enjoined the enforcement of the new overtime regulations. Trump need not rely on the courts, however, to undo the new rules. The Republican-controlled Congress, with Trump support, can invoke the Congressional Review Act (the “CRA”) to eliminate or modify the new FLSA overtime regulations implemented by the Obama Administration. Such an action is consistent with the President-elect’s frequent comments that the government must reduce business regulations to promote a free market. Trump has also advocated for a more wide-reaching small-business exemption to overtime requirements.
Equal Pay: Trump promised to continue to support equal pay for men and women. However, he also expressed hesitation in imposing additional government regulation. Despite Ivanka’s promises that her father is committed to equal pay for equal work, it is unclear how the Trump administration will address this issue.
Independent Contractor and Joint Employer Issues: The Obama administration focused on expanding the definitions of independent contractors and joint employers. While Trump has yet to speak out on this issue, with a Republican-controlled legislature and a Republic executive-in-chief, companies hope for relief on these fronts. We will have to wait and see if and how the new administration addresses this issue.