Eye On 2017: Changes President-Elect Trump May Have Planned for Employers
On November 8th, America elected Donald Trump as our next President and ushered in an era of change for the country and the workplace. Let’s take a look at four of the key HR related items the President-elect has promised to change and how your company and employees could be impacted.
One of Trump’s top promises has been that “On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” He has since amended that stance slightly, saying in a November 2016 interview with 60 Minutes that he would take a more modest approach to overhauling the ACA. He insisted that his administration would work to simultaneously repeal and replace the ACA to avoid lapses in protection. He also expressed that he would consider keeping the provisions that allow for pre-existing conditions and children living at home to remain on their parents’ insurance.
Experts have noted that a total repeal is highly unlikely. As noted in a recent SHRM article, to repeal the law, the Senate would need 60 votes to avoid a Democratic filibuster. While the recent election gave the Republicans a majority in the senate (51 Republicans to 48 Democrats) it did not provide a filibuster-proof majority.
Along with the changes to Obamacare, the President-elect has outlined the following healthcare reforms¹:
- Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines.
- Allow deduction of health insurance premium payments from tax returns.
- Allow individuals to use contributions into HSAs to accumulate and become part of an estate of the individual, so they can be passed on to heirs without fear of any penalty.
- Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals.
- Block-grant Medicaid to the states.
- Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers.
Trump’s plans include expanding unemployment insurance (UI) to accommodate six weeks of paid maternity leave and incentives for employers to provide child care at work. Per his website, his overall vision for child care also includes:
- Rewriting the tax code to allow working parents to deduct from their income taxes child care expenses for up to four children and elderly dependents.
- Allow parents to enroll in tax-free dependent care savings accounts for their children or elderly relatives.
- Provide low-income households an Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit – in the form a Childcare rebate – and a matching $500 contribution for their savings accounts.
- Creating a new, dynamic market for family-based and community-based solutions.
In an August 2016 speech, Trump indicated that he planned to work with Congress to strengthen and expand the use of the E-Verify system across the country. Currently, 22 states and localities require E-Verify or an alternative to verify employee identity or citizenship status.
The move to mandate E-Verify is likely to be one of Trump’s actions items that can take place sooner rather than later. In a recent article, Chatrane Birbal, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) senior advisor, government relations noted that, “Congress has reauthorized the E-Verify program for years, the established mandated requirements for federal contractors, various state requirements and the nationwide use by [some] employers, it is conceivable that a mandatory E-Verify program will garner support in the next Congress.”
On Tuesday, November 22, 2016 a Federal judge in Texas issued an injunction to bar President Obama’s revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This ruling delays the FLSA’s implementation date, originally scheduled for December 1, 2016. While the overtime rule still could be implemented later down the road, it likely faces an uphill battle.
In an August 2016 interview, the President-elect hinted that he was in favor of a small business exemption to the Department of Labor’s FLSA Overtime Rule Change. As it stands now under the coming change, ALL employers with full-time, non-exempt employees making less than $47,476 are impacted. Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute estimates that a small business exemption would allow roughly 50% of American businesses to avoid the new regulation.
¹ (Source: Donald J Trump Website)