The HR field has seen a tremendous amount of change in the past year. After the inauguration of a new administration and a more employer-friendly Department of Labor, many HR professionals braced themselves for how possible legislation would impact their organization. That, coupled with proposed changes to the overtime rule at the end of the year, made it clear that keeping a workplace compliant in 2017 would be a challenge.
But new laws and regulations weren’t the only factors that contributed to employment law changes in 2017. As awareness around sexual harassment in the workplace increased through movements like #MeToo, many HR departments took action to make the workplace a safer, more diverse environment.
Even with all the employment law changes in 2017, many HR professionals are still waiting to see how the conversations playing out in Congress and boardrooms across America will impact employee benefits and business functions.
The Top 5 Employee Law Trends Shaping HR in 2018
So, what are the biggest employment law trends that will shape HR in 2018? Here are five your business should consider based on everything we’re hearing in the market:
1. More Requirements Around Paid Leave
Although paid sick leave is available in only a handful of states, others are expected to follow in the near future. More than 100 paid sick leave bills were introduced at the state level in 2017. Additionally, the House of Representatives introduced the Workflex in the 21st Century Act, which also includes paid leave.
Employers need to understand the calculations and other mechanisms of the law and how new requirements compare to current employer offerings.
2. Increased Focus on Preventing Sexual Harassment
2017’s #MeToo movement empowered and emboldened individuals to bring forward stories of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Although many of last year’s efforts focused on celebrities or very high-profile figures, many HR lawyers believe we will likely begin to see claims being made against managers and executives at companies of all sizes and types.
As a result, employers should take a look at their sexual harassment policies, compliance and investigation procedures, and training programs.
3. Greater Commitment to Equal and Fair Pay
For the past decades, lawmakers have been proactive about combating wage disparities based on gender. Last year alone, there were more than 100 equal pay bills and more than 250 discrimination bills discussed at the state level.
Most of the legislation was focused on prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their prior or current compensation and relying on salary history to set pay levels. California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York City, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico have passed laws with language around equal and fair pay. Idaho, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia are considering similar legislation.
4. Federal Legislation Around Worker Classification
Worker classification remains another important area to watch in 2018, especially as some of the nation’s most well-known brands like Uber and GrubHub continue to drive news stories to the conversation. The current U.S. Department of Labor has withdrawn Obama-era guidance on the topic, but it has not yet replaced it.
Although specific legislation could be months away, the U.S. Supreme Court is currently discussing a worker classification case. Employers should stay ahead of the curve when it comes to correctly classifying your workers.
5. An Increase in Regulations at the State and Local Level
As the Trump administration began rolling back many of the employment laws from the Obama-era, state and local governments started to step in. As we’ve discussed above, many of the new regulation topics, including paid time off and equal pay, are driven by legislation at the state level. Therefore, it’s important for employers to pay attention to what’s happening at every level of government.
Are You Prepared for the Employment Law Changes Coming This Year?
Keeping track of all of the employment law changes can be overwhelming, especially if you are a small or mid-sized business. That’s where our team at LBMC Employment Partners comes in.
Whether you’re looking to outsource the daily management of your HR tasks or have questions about the impact legislative changes have on your business, we’re here to help. You can connect with our team anytime to make sure your business is keeping up with all the employment law trends that are shaping Human Resources in 2018.