The 114th Congress is expected to tackle a number of issues that could have major implications for employers and alter strategies organizations currently use to communicate and manage benefits, including overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Boards ambush election rules and compensation equity.
Speaking at the Society for Human Resource Managements Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., this week, Hank Jackson, SHRMs CEO, and Michael Aitken, SHRMs vice president of government affairs, offered insight into what the organization is expecting to happen down the road.
Washington needs an HR perspective, said Jackson, during the events opening keynote session.
A little over a year ago, President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to the Department of Labor directing the agency to modernize and simplify the FLSAs Section 541 rules, which govern overtime. One of SHRMs concerns is that a substantial number of employees, who are now classified as exempt from overtime requirements, would become subject to overtime requirements.
Certain industries and geographic locations can be hit hard, said Aitken of the potential changes, pointing in particular to the South and Northwestern U.S.
In a poll taken during the presentation, an overwhelming majority of the employers said changes to exempt versus non-exempt statuses could lower employee morale, as well as weaken workplace autonomy.
The Affordable Care Act also remains on SHRMs radar, as a number of events could change employer health care strategies.
For example, in the highly anticipated King v. Burwell, if the Supreme Court strikes down state subsidies, premiums could spike by as much as 600% overnight, Aitken said.
And while a successful repeal of the ACA is unlikely, even with the new congressional makeup, there are still several changes the current Congress will pursue, he added, including the ACAs definition of full-time employee, the application of the excise tax and protections for employer wellness programs.
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