Human Resources News & Insights

Study: HR pros stressed about changing regs, but not where you’d think

Overtime rule, DOL, FLSA

While employers are keeping a close eye on ACA-repeal efforts and other changes under the new administration, they’re most concerned about what’s happening in their own backyards.

That’s one of the key findings from The Littler Annual Employer Survey, 2017, which surveyed 1,229 in-house counsel, HR pros and execs.

To view the full report, visit.

At the local, state level

The study found the new or amended labor and employment requirements at the state and local levels posed a compliance challenge for 79% of employers.

To keep up with these changing regs, the report said employers are:

  • updating their policies, handbooks and HR procedures (85%)
  • providing additional employee training (54%), and
  • conducting internal audits (50%).

Michael Lotito, co-chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute, explained employers’ concern over local and state regs by stating:

“As states and municipalities continue to propose and enact a dizzying array of rules and regulations, it is no wonder employers are struggling with the increasingly fragmented landscape. With the Trump administration working to reduce federal regulations, employers can expect a growing patchwork of employment regulations as states and municipalities look to fill a void at the federal level.”

The state and local changes that have already impacted employers the most are:

  • paid leave mandates (59%)
  • background check restrictions (48%), and
  • minimum wage increases (47%).

The impact of an ACA repeal

The Littler report also asked employers about the fate of the ACA and how a repeal would impact their business. (Note: The responses were collected before the recent developments with the American Health Care Act.)

Employers were asked, “What changes do you anticipate in your company if the ACA’s employer mandate is killed?” Here’s how firms responded (multiple responses allowed):

  • no impact/don’t currently offer coverage to employees (cited by 28% of companies)
  • don’t know what the impact will be (27%)
  • will modify eligibility requirement for employees (20%)
  • will allow employees to work more than 30 hours per week because it won’t trigger a required coverage offer (18%)
  • will increase premiums or cost-sharing (17%), and
  • will drop insurance coverage for some full-time employees (4%).

Steven Friedman, a co-chair of Littler’s Employee Benefits Practice, says employers’ responses “suggest that a repeal of the [ACA employer] mandate would give employers more flexibility to set work schedules based on the needs of their businesses, without fear of triggering a requirement to provide health insurance.”

In terms of the current ACA, 83% of employers anticipate the current ACA to impact their workplace over the next year.

Another interesting finding about the ACA: Despite myriad gripes about Obamacare, just 43% of employers said they want the law to be repealed or revised.

On the federal level

Littler also delved into how federal regs would impact employers’ workplaces in the upcoming year and found:

  • 76% of employers believed EEOC enforcement would impact their workplace (51% expect an increase in discrimination claims)
  • 55% said NLRB issues would have an impact
  • 81% thought DOL enforcement would impact them, and
  • just 40% believed immigration reform would impact their workplace (down from 63% in 2016).

Additional highlights on employers’ challenges and initiatives:

  • 65% of firms have difficulty managing intermittent FMLA
  • 55% have difficulty managing leaves that extend beyond FMLA requirements, and
  • 63% of HR and IT departments are working together on information security policies to protect data privacy and prevent breaches.
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