Now that the dust is finally settling on the election and 2016 is drawing to close, many of us are beginning to think about the possible changes coming our way in 2017. Because no one has time to follow each and every new new political development live, here is what you need to know about the changes that we could start to see as the next presidential term begins.
The Obama administration tried to implement a rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than four million workers. That rule was blocked this November by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant in Sherman, Texas, who agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that the rule is unlawful. The federal judge granted their motion for a nationwide injunction, preventing the rule from taking effect on December 1, as originally intended.
The proposed mandatory overtime rule would have doubled the maximum salary a worker can earn and still be eligible for mandatory overtime pay to $47,500 annually. However, now that the rule is blocked and Republicans have control of both the House and the Senate, it seems increasingly possible that an attempt to repeal the law will be made during the Trump administration. This would be challenging, as most new laws cannot be undone right away, and would require a piecemeal repeal of regulations by Congress.
Trump was vocally against Obama’s Affordable Care Act throughout his campaign for president. Post-election, however, the president elect has suggested that he will reconsider his stance on the issue. In particular, Trump has indicated interest in maintaining two of the major benefits of the Affordable Care Act, that insurers must cover individuals with pre-existing conditions and that children may remain on their parents’ health insurance into their twenties.
For employers who hire many young, entry-level workers, this comes as great news. For employers with 50 or more full time employees who would like to save on health insurance costs, the chance of a repeal of the employer mandate is promising. However, changes to the Affordable Care Act could potentially make it more difficult for individuals to find affordable health insurance independently and may thus encourage contract workers to look for fixed employ.
Trump supports six weeks of paid maternity leave, which would triple the average paid leave received by new mothers. His planned leave applies only to birth mothers and will not affect leave requirements for fathers or adoptive parents. While this disparity could bode poorly for the gender wage gap, blatant employer discrimination based on sex remains illegal.
Five states had minimum wage changes on the ballot. Of those five states, four were increases in minimum wage and one was a reduction in minimum wage. Here’s the breakdown:
The Maine Minimum Wage Increase, also known as Question 4, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Maine as an indirect initiated state statute. A ‘yes’ vote meant increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020.
55.48% of voters voted ‘yes’ and 44.52% of voters voted ‘no’. The minimum wage increase was approved.
The Colorado $12 Minimum Wage Amendment, also known as Amendment 70, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment. A ‘yes’ vote meant increasing the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour in 2017 and then increasing it a further 90 cents annually until it reaches $12.00 per hour in 2020.
55.35% of voters voted ‘yes’ and 44.65% of voters voted ‘no.’ The minimum wage increase was approved.
The Minimum Wage and Paid Time Off Initiative, also known as Proposition 206, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Arizona as an initiated state statute. A ‘yes’ vote meant increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour in 2017 and then incrementally to $12 by 2020. It also meant creating a right to paid sick time off from employment.
58.33% of voters voted ‘yes’ and 41.67% voted ‘no.’ The minimum wage increase was approved.
The Washington Minimum Wage Increase, also known as Initiative 1433, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in Washington as an initiated state statute. It was the largest minimum wage increase on the ballot in 2016, with a ‘yes’ vote supporting raising the minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 by 2020 and mandating employers to offer paid sick leave.
57.42% of voters voted ‘yes’ and 42.58% of voters voted ‘no.’ The minimum wage increase was approved.
The South Dakota Youth Minimum Wage Veto Referendum, also known as Referred Law 20, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in South Dakota as a veto referendum. A ‘yes’ vote meant supporting Senate Bill 177, a law decreasing the minimum wage for workers under 18 years of age from $8.50 to $7.50.
71.13% of voters voted ‘no’ and only 28.87% of voters voted ‘yes.’ The minimum wage decrease was not approved.
All four increases in minimum wage passed, but the only proposed decrease in minimum wage did not pass. Even with Republican control of both the Congress and the Senate, the political climate remains pro-fair wages and we are unlikely to see significant drops in minimum wage requirements.