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The Compliance Climate Is Changing: How Has Federal Deregulation Affected Employers?

2/21/2018

When Donald Trump became President, he and the new Republican administration promised a decrease — or even rollback — of federal employment laws and regulations.

But has federal deregulation eased the compliance burden? Surprisingly, the answer is no. When federal activity slows, states and cities step in to fill the gaps.

This has already occurred with minimum wage, paid sick leave, anti-discrimination laws and other legislation designed to protect employees. And these changes often lead to more labor law posters — and more complexity — for employers.

Minimum Wage

The best example of federal inactivity impacting local legislation is minimum wage. The federal hourly minimum was set at $7.25 in 2009 and hasn't budged since. Approximately 70 cities and states have passed their own minimum wage laws. And that number will only increase.

For example, let’s look at how this might affect an employer with locations in Oakland, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico:

In Oakland locations, the employer would need to display:

  • Federal Minimum Wage Posting of $7.25/hour
  • State Minimum Wage Posting of $11.00/hour
  • City Minimum Wage of $13.23/hour

In Santa Fe locations, the employer would need to display:

  • Federal Minimum Wage Posting of $7.25/hour
  • State Minimum Wage Posting of $7.50/hour
  • City Minimum Wage of $10.84/hour

If federal, state and local laws differ, the employer is legally required to display all postings in each business location — even if they conflict. And you must pay the most generous rate to workers. This makes compliance a moving target for businesses, particularly those with multiple locations.

Paid Sick Leave

Currently, there are limited federal requirements for sick leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks for a “serious health condition” for workers at businesses with more than 50 employees. Plus, federal law provides up to seven paid sick days for certain employees of federal contractors — detailed in a separate mandatory labor law posting for contractors.

Not satisfied with the federal regulations, states and cities are passing their own laws requiring private employers to offer paid sick leave. Consider the following:

  • Nine states and Washington, D.C., have paid sick leave laws
  • More than 25 cities and counties have paid sick leave laws
  • Several states and cities have pending legislation

Almost all of these state and local laws are accompanied by mandatory postings. Again, if you’re in a state with mandatory paid sick time poster and a city with a paid sick time law, you must display both.

Additional Laws to Watch

Other trending local laws that can impact your postings include:

  • Predictive Scheduling: Requires employers to provide shift workers with advance notice of their schedule. And in some cases, you must compensate employees for last-minute changes.
  • Opportunity to Work: These laws require employers to offer additional work hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new employees. San Jose and San Francisco, for instance, have mandatory Opportunity to Work posters.
  • Anti-Discrimination: About 20 states and 200 cities have LGBT anti-discrimination laws in place and many include mandatory posting requirements.

Control the Chaos

Whether federal laws are held up due to congressional gridlock, or because of the current administration’s focus on reducing provisions, the result is the same: Local lawmakers are picking up the pace and passing laws, which means employers must understand and comply with multiple levels of regulations and posting requirements.

Frequent and complex local changes require monitoring and expert interpretation. Poster Guard® Compliance Protection service offers 365 days of hassle-free labor law posting compliance, backed by an in-house team of employment lawyers and legal researchers. Best of all, our subscription service covers federal, state and local requirements.