From political ads to campaign signs as far as the eye can see, there was no avoiding the 2022 midterm elections this year.
No matter what side you’re on, the laws and legislations that were passed on November 8 have sweeping effects for the rest of the country. As an HR pro, it’s important to know which measures passed may affect the workplace. Here are three things all HR pros should know about the outcomes of the midterm elections.
The issue of cannabis has been on the ballot for years. While it used to be regarded negatively, there has been a culture shift within the past decade with more and more states beginning to lessen restrictions, both medicinally and recreationally.
In this year’s midterm elections, many states chose to legalize marijuana in some form. Arkansas, Maryland and Missouri all passed laws legalizing marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older. In North Dakota and South Dakota, legalization was on the ballot but was not passed.
What HR needs to know: The rise of cannabis legalization has grown exponentially, making it hard for HR to keep up with shifting cultural attitudes and new legislation. If your company doesn’t already have a policy surrounding marijuana use, now may be the time to do so. HR may want to consider creating some guidelines around recreational use during work hours and beyond, as well as shifting policies about screening new hires for cannabis use.
Even though the federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 since 2009, states have chosen to raise the minimum wage over the years. Currently, the highest state minimum wage is in California at $15.
In this year’s midterm elections, Nebraska passed Initiative 433 to raise the minimum wage from $9 to $15 by 2026 and adjust it annually for the cost of living. Nevada also raised their minimum wage to $12 by July 1, 2024, and removed annual inflation adjustments.
In Washington, DC, Initiative 82 was passed to eliminate tip credit for tipped employees while also raising the minimum wage to the same rate of non-tipped employees by July 1, 2027.
What HR needs to know: Minimum wage increases and pay transparency have been in the news due to rising costs of living and inflation. It’s important for HR to not only make sure that employees are getting a livable wage, but also that it is being adjusted to accommodate rising costs all over the country.
In Tennessee, a measure was passed to amend the state constitution to include a right-to-work law.
This amendment means that Tennessee will join nine other states to stop workplaces from requiring workers to join a union in order to be employed and allows them to opt-out of paying union dues.
What HR needs to know: With a stronger focus on workers’ rights throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a spotlight on unionization for high-profile companies like Starbucks and Amazon. It’s HR’s job to make sure all workers know their rights and to provide them with the choice of joining a union or not in states with right-to-work laws.