Burr Alert: Employment Law Changes in the Trump Administration
When Donald Trump takes office in January 2017 he will enjoy Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, which should allow him to take quick action on a number of employment law issues. Although there is some uncertainty regarding Trump's positions and priorities, it seems clear that the Trump administration will favor fewer regulations and will likely roll back certain employee friendly initiatives pursued by the Obama administration.
Perhaps the most significant development affecting employment laws in the Trump administration is Trump's recent nomination of Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor. Like many Trump appointees, Puzder has no prior experience in political office and has served as the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. (the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr.) since 2000. Puzder has frequently voiced strong criticism of what he views as over-regulation by the government, and Trump has said that Puzder "will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth." Below are some of the areas where employers are likely to see changes and emphasis in the upcoming months.
Overtime Rules: Puzder and the Trump administration will likely reverse or suspend changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime exemptions that were scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016.1 Under those regulations, overtime protections would be extended to approximately 4.2 million workers by increasing the minimum salary level necessary to qualify for the white collar exemptions from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year and the minimum salary to qualify for the highly compensated employee exemption from $100,000 per year to $134,000 per year. Puzder has called the regulations a barrier to the middle class that will negatively affect employees by turning entry-level management positions into hourly jobs and leading employers to eliminate positions, reduce hours, and accelerate plans for automation.
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