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The Trump Effect:
ACA, Overtime Exemption and Other HR Laws

With our new president well into his first 100 days, here's how his plans will likely affect you and your employees.

Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016 after a campaign in which he made a number of promises to bring big changes to business, regulations and related laws. As his first hundred days in office proceed, which proposed changes are still merely plans -- and which are already underway? Here's what you need to know.

Regulatory Reform

Trump's promise to "repeal two regulations for every new regulation enacted" garnered a great deal of attention on the campaign trail as part of an overall commitment to reforming federal regulations and reducing taxes.

In practice, however, the new administration's plan is a bit more nuanced. It includes a plan to temporarily pause the creation of new regulations, as federal agencies examine their existing rules in order to streamline them and eliminate outdated or repetitive rules. The administration has promised an emphasis on keeping rules that are crucial to health and safety and reducing rules that are not. The details as to how this plan will be carried out, and by what deadlines, have yet to be released, however.

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Another cornerstone of Trump's campaign platform was to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as "Obamacare" -- a task Republicans in Congress have also sought to achieve in recent years. In January 2017, Congress voted to defund several portions of the ACA in preparation for its repeal. Full repeal of the Act, however, is not expected to take place until after a replacement plan has been created.

While the details of a replacement plan have not been released, experts expect it to contain several of the ideas Trump offered on the campaign trail, such as allowing insurers to sell insurance across state lines, allowing individuals to deduct premium payments from tax returns, and price transparency for healthcare providers. Trump has also suggested that he would keep portions such as the requirement that insurers cover patients with preexisting conditions.

Maternity Leave

One area in which the Trump administration seems prepared to increase federal regulation is in maternity leave. During his campaign, Trump recommended a plan similar to California's, in which unemployment insurance would also cover up to six weeks of paid maternity leave.

The plan does not, however, appear to include parental leave for fathers, nor does it appear to include any other form of leave already covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Businesses will need to wait until final rules are in place to know which employees would be subject to the plan and under what terms.

E-Verify and H-1B Visas

Although images of Trump rally attendees chanting "Build the Wall!" were splashed across national media during the campaign season, the new administration's actual position on immigration when it comes to business is more complex. The administration currently supports nationwide use of the E-Verify system for all employers. E-Verify is an online electronic employment eligibility verification system that gives employers the ability to ensure their new hires are authorized to work in the U.S.

The administration has also discussed increasing the prevailing wage for workers with H-1B visas, or visas to work in positions that require specialized knowledge. This stance, however, appears to be part of a larger plan to encourage the hiring of American citizens or permanent residents first, before hiring workers with visas. How businesses will be encouraged to change their hiring practices remains uncertain.

Overtime Changes

The U.S. Department of Labor's new overtime rule, created in 2016, is currently on hold as the new administration settles in. Although most employers were prepared to comply with the new rule by mid-November, many find themselves in a holding pattern. Word on whether the new overtime rule will take effect has not been released, and the Trump administration's plans to review federal regulations may delay it further.

Handling the Change

With so much on your plate already, handling a spate of changes in employment laws can seem like the last thing you need in your schedule. Luckily, your staffing partner can help you navigate many of these changes. Staffing firms specialize in helping their clients manage HR compliance issues, from authorization to work in the U.S. through benefits administration.