Employers face not only a new year but also a new incoming administration in the White House. Some rules passed in 2016 will go into effect in 2017, while the future of others is still uncertain. Here are a few issues for employers to watch as we ring in 2017.
All employers will be required to use the revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification as of January 22, 2017. It is mandatory for all employers in the United States to use this form in their hiring and employment processes, and failure to do so can result in penalties. The revised form doesn’t reflect any changes in law, but does include technical revisions such as a separate page for preparers or translators.
In 2016 the Department of Labor proposed several changes, including a new overtime rule raising the salary threshold from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year. A Texas court judge has since passed a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the rule. So far President-elect Trump has been silent on the issue; however, his criticism of federal regulation may give some insight on how the rule will fare. His choice of fast-food executive Andrew F. Puzder as labor secretary is also an indicator as to which direction this issue might take.
To reduce pay disparity, the EEOC has launched a proposal to collect pay and work data from employers with 100 or more employees. Trump is slated to select a new chair for the commission in the new year, in addition to nominating a new general counsel. With the change in management, we may be seeing changes in the commission’s priorities and regulations.
While on the campaign trail, Trump proposed a policy that would allow six weeks of paid maternity leave to those who currently do not receive it, and funding would come from unemployment insurance. We will have to see which direction this issue takes once he assumes office.
Once he takes office, Trump will be able to nominate a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court of the United States. In the later stages of the campaign, Trump supplied a list of 21 prospective candidates that he would consider. It is safe to say that his appointments will have an impact on labor and employment laws going forward, such as class action waivers in agreements.
With so many issues up in the air, employers should be ready for anything in the coming year, especially given the change in administration. Laws that deal with minimum wage, salary thresholds, and employee welfare will all be affected, so stay tuned to this blog for updates.
From all of us at Peckham Martin, we wish you the best for a prosperous 2017!