Here’s where Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL), stands on business regulation: He’s not a fan.
Puzder is a former attorney and the current CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns several U.S. fast-food chains including Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, and he was an advisor of President-elect Trump during Trump’s campaign.
Puzder’s criticized the Obama administration for trying to over-regulate industry into economic prosperity. So HR pros can expect a Puzder-run DOL to take a more hands-off approach to business than current Secretary Thomas Perez. He may even work to dismantle some of major initiatives created under the current administration.
Here’s what we know to date about Puzder’s view on three of today’s biggest HR issues:
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) — The day after the election, Puzder said Obamacare “has got to go and it has to go quickly” — though he did acknowledge the difficulty of addressing insured individuals who have pre-existing conditions. He claims the law has jacked up employers’ costs. Also, by increasing premiums in the individual market, he claims the ACA has drained consumers’ discretionary funds. Some of his suggested fixes: New tax incentives for the middle class that will incentivize insurers to compete for workers that don’t have access to employer-sponsored healthcare.
- New FLSA overtime exemption rule — Puzder has been openly critical of the OT rule. He said turning current managerial jobs into hourly positions won’t do much good for employers or their employees. As a result, it’s expected that if Puzder (or anyone with a similar stance on the OT rule) gets appointed to lead the DOL, the rule is as good as dead. The recent injunction of the rule by a federal court in Texas appears to have bought the GOP the time it needs to appoint a new labor secretary and abandon the DOL’s legal defense of the rule. Still, employers can’t count their chickens before they hatch. They must stay ready to comply on the seemingly off chance the rule does survive.
- Minimum wage — Puzder has taken some heat from the “Fight for $15” crowd due to his negative stance on raising the minimum wage dramatically over a short period of time. Puzder’s stance is that failing to take a slower, more measured approach could end up shutting entry-level employees out of jobs, inhibiting their ability to start climbing the ladder of success. He has also said that if the government is going to raise the federal minimum wage, it should retain a lower minimum wage for entry-level workers. In addition, Puzder has warned against being quick to implement the same increase nationwide. For example: He has said employers in Birmingham, AL, shouldn’t necessarily be subjected to the same minimum wage floor as employers in San Francisco. Bottom line: Puzder has said he’s not closed off to the idea of increasing the minimum wage, but he thinks more research should be done to find what increases would be appropriate in various geographical areas.
Info: A tip of the hat to our sister website, HR Benefits Alert, which published a previous version of this story.