What a week – and here we are at Friday already. This Friday’s Five focuses on how President Trump could change the employment landscape on the federal and California levels.
1. Department of Labor’s overtime regulations effective December 1, 2016 are still on course to take effect, but could be changed in 2017.
As I’ve written about previously, the DOL has issued changes to the federal rules raising the salary required for employees to qualify as exempt employees. The DOL raised the salary required to $47,476 annually for a full time worker, and this change is effective December 1, 2016. Mr. Trump will obviously be unable to roll back this increase until he is inaugurated as president. However, there have been discussions that congress and some legal actions could prevent this requirement from taking effect, but prudent employers should continue to proceed to comply with the new requirement on December 1, 2016. It is likely that this regulation will be carefully reviewed by President Trump, but any changes he potentially could make would likely not be effective until mid or late 2017.
2. Immigration and E-verify issues.
During the campaign, Trump stated that he would mandate employers use the E-verify program to check on applicants’ right to work within the United States. The system is available for employers to use currently, but Federal law does not require employers to use the system, and some states require its use. However, employers in California are not currently required to use E-verify.
3. Minimum wage.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump supported the idea of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10 per hour. In July of 2016, Mr. Trump made statements that he supported this increase, and also supported the idea that states could set a higher minimum wage. Of course, given California’s current minimum wage is set at $10 per hour, an increase on the federal level will probably not impact California employers, as California’s minimum wage is increasing to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2017, $11 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then $1 per year thereafter until it reaches $15 per hour in January 2022. These increased are delayed by one year for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
4. Paid maternity leave.
Mr. Trump’s website proposes that he would support a law providing 6 weeks of paid leave to new mothers before returning to work. Currently, under the FMLA, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth of a child and care for a newborn.
5. Implementation of more local laws expected.
As we have seen here in California, local cities and counties have taken the minimum wage and paid sick leave issues into their own hands and require employers to comply with more restrictive laws than those passed on the state or federal level. Just in Southern California for example, there are many different minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that employers need to be aware of and comply with. This local legislation makes it hard for businesses that have more than one location, as the laws require different policies, notices, pay requirements, and tracking obligations for each location.
Interested in learning more about employment law updates facing California employers? My firm is hosting a webinar on December 13, 2016, discussing the new laws employers must comply with in 2017 and an update on the litigation front. Click here to register.