Questions and Concerns HR Pros Have About the Obama Administration’s Proposed New Regulations

No matter who you voted for, if you’re an HR pro, chances are you have an opinion on some of the labor legislation being put into place by the Obama administration. Specifically, OFCCP, healthcare reform, NLRB and FLSA, are being widely discussed right now. Whatever your politics are, if you work in HR, your job is most likely going to be effected by one or all of these pieces of proposed legislation, now that the administration that put them in place is in office for the next four years. HR BLR’s article, What Obama’s re-election means for HR and employment issues, features some great information on these subjects. I’ve attempted to explore these issues a bit, and offer my own perspective. 

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is predicted to see some big changes in regulation in the next 4 years. During his current administration, Obama has pushed for more regulation regarding federal contract workers compliance. EEOC, ADA, and many other government agencies will be more firm about equal pay and related regulation. In Mickey Silberman‘s article. President Obama Wins Re-Election: For OFCCP and Government Contractors, What Does this Mean? he states:

“During his first term in office, the President made pay equity one of his top civil rights enforcement agenda items – and OFCCP responded by becoming more aggressive in its enforcement of pay discrimination.” Silberman says.  “It remains to be seen how the agency will respond to another four years in an Obama administration, but its likely OFCCP will re-double its efforts in the area of pay discrimination enforcement.”

The areas Obama has made a priority for the OFCCP, are regulations regarding people with disabilities, and veterans, among other things. While the OFCCP hasn’t made much headway with these goals during Obama’s administration so far, they likely will in the next four years. It’s vital that we brush up on our OFCCP guidelines and stay informed. Hopefully it won’t effect anyone who doesn’t practice discriminatory pay.

Perhaps the most feared, and controversial of all these concerns is Healthcare Reform. For anyone in the benefits sector of HR, this is certainly going to be a logistical undertaking, but what all will it entail? Some important changes are: no co-pay for preventative care, parental coverage until the age of 26, non-discriminatory coverage, and no policy limit on amount of benefits. With the bill set to go into effect January 1st of 2014, and with a newly elected Democratic president and senate, now’s the time to start researching healthcare reform, and just what it means for you.

VP of public policy at the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit that works on behalf of large organizations regarding national health-policy, Steve Wojcik, weighed in on some frustrations employers may be feeling. He explains that NBGH has ran into roadblocks implementing ACA. The complicated document requires details, that just aren’t coming online fast enough.

“Time is getting short and employers need to plan,” he says. “There are lots of unanswered questions.  The Obama administration is way behind on specifics about some regulations.”

Proposed regulation increases by the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding The Department of Labor’s (DOL)  ‘right to know’ regulations would require that employees be informed of their rights according to the FLSA. Increased regulation would be implemented regarding exempt employees as well under proposed FLSA. The National Labor Relations Board, has been stirring up some controversy regarding unionization, that will no doubt continue to bubble under the current administration.

Much of the proposed regulations are yet to be seen, so it’s hard to say what the effects will be yet. The most important advice is to stay informed of the regulation changes through research. Be careful, and don’t let tougher regulations get the best of your company.

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