Three Labor and Employment Issues to Watch Under the Trump Administration
Topics: Legal Information
Three of the top labor and employment law issues to watch in the beginning of the Trump administration include: (1) the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) minimum salary requirements for overtime compensation; (2) mandatory, federal paid maternity leave; and (3) more rigorous state and local laws in the labor and employment arena.
DOL Salary Test
Last year, the DOL raised the federal salary requirements for exempt employees to $47,476 annually. This regulation is currently stayed based on a Texas court's injunction (which is pending appeal before the Fifth Circuit). It is unclear what the Trump administration will do with this regulation. It is possible that President Trump and newly appointed Labor Secretary Acosta may completely repeal this regulation. They may also push Congress for a statute providing for a lower salary threshold, thereby decreasing the burden on employers for meeting the “salary basis” test for overtime exemption purposes. This area is likely to get more attention once Secretary Acosta is confirmed, which this author suspects will happen.
Paid Family Leave
President Trump is generally against additional regulations and employer mandates. However, Ivanka Trump, who is a very strong advocate for paid family leave, is the most influential First Daughter in modern history and will be a strong voice on the paid maternity leave issue. If Trump and his daughter can convince Congress to get behind them, employers may be subject to a new mandatory federal requirement that calls for up to six (6) weeks of paid maternity leave for working mothers. The paid portion of this leave would likely be funded by employer and employee contributions, similar to the current paid leave program in California.
State and Local Regulations
Finally, employers operating in typically regarded “employee-friendly” states like California should expect the state legislatures to play an activist role on behalf of employees and enact a variety of additional legal protections to curb President Trump’s efforts at rolling back many of the Obama Executive Orders and other initiatives. We expect the California Legislature to introduce many employment related bills. We also expect liberal municipalities like San Francisco, Santa Monica, and others to continue to enact employment regulation to provide greater protections for workers in those cities.