• How the Presidential Election May Affect Employers
  • March 6, 2017 | Authors: Adam G. Guttell; Gregory B. Reilly
  • Law Firms: Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP - East Meadow Office; Martin Clearwater & Bell LLP - New York Office
  • The next President of the United States takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017. Although who shall prevail in the general election is anyone’s guess, the conventional wisdom is each party’s current frontrunners will be their eventual nominee. Assuming this holds true, employers would do well to understand the employment law platforms of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

    Minimum Wage
    According to Clinton’s website, she supports raising the federal minimum wage to $12 per hour. She also supports local efforts for greater increases to the minimum wage on a state-by-state basis. She supported Gov. Cuomo’s recent effort to eventually raise New York’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

    Clinton’s website also states that she “supports the Obama Administration’s expansion of overtime rules to millions more workers.” Although the statement is not entirely clear, one can assume this demonstrates support for the changes to the “white collar exemption” proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor and recently signed into law. The changes increase the salary threshold requirement to be overtime exempt from $455 per week to $913 per week. Thus, one can predict that a Clinton administration will continue with the Obama administration’s proposed changes to the federal wage and hour laws.

    Donald Trump’s campaign website does not address minimum wage. However, he stated during the Nov. 10 Republican debate that he would not raise the minimum wage and that, “we are a country that is being beaten on every front — economically and militarily. Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world.”

    Health Care
    Both Trump’s and Clinton’s website address the ACA, which currently requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide minimum healthcare coverage to their employees or pay a penalty. Trump has publicly stated he intends to “completely repeal” the ACA. Clinton has publicly stated that she intends to defend it.

    Paid Family Leave
    Clinton’s campaign website states that she intends to guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and ensure at least a two-thirds wage replacement rate for workers. Her website does not provide many details but explains that she intends to fund the plan through a combination of tax reforms “impacting the most fortunate.”

    Trump’s website does not address paid family leave. When asked about the issue, Trump has neither supported nor opposed the concept, rather, suggesting the country must remain competitive. A video on Trump’s website shows him stating he would review and reverse many of President Obama’s executive orders on his first day in office. One such executive order was to require paid sick leave for federal contractors. It is unknown whether this is one Trump intends to reverse.

    Although campaign promises and platforms are frequently modified, employers should be prepared for the next presidential administration. We will monitor any changes to employment laws, executive orders, and policy positions to assist you in maintaining legal compliance and minimizing litigation risk.

    Source: MD News June 2016, Long Island Edition