7 Changes to Look for in 2017

Monday November 21, 2016 comments

Constant Change is Here to Stay

If you did not like the change promised 8 years ago, you may welcome the change coming January 20. If you liked the change over the last 8 years, you may dread what’s ahead. Change is coming. Of course, it’s always coming.

Business leaders like stability in which to conduct business. They don’t like it when they aren’t in control of the change and it’s imposed on them. Especially by the government. Following are the 7 bigger changes coming that will impact work:

  • ACA – The Affordable Care Act is something President Elect Trump promised to dismantle as a top priority of his administration. Can he? Maybe; maybe not. The other side of the house controls too many seats in the Senate to invoke cloture to end a fillibuster. Perhaps some less popular provisions may change, such as the individual mandate. Watch this one. Hopefully responsibilities imposed on employers will be reduced.
  • Pot – More states have voted to decriminalize marijuana either medicinally, recreationally, or both. Like it or not, it’s only a matter of time until this changes nation-wide. Will it create huge problems for society and the workplace? Maybe; maybe not. Cannabis was sold at drug stores 100 years ago. Employers will have to manage this as they do alcohol impairment on the job. Fear not – better tests are coming to help with that.
  • Minimum Wage – Voter referenda have created state minimum wage laws often a good bit higher than the federal rate of $7.25. Will it create salary compression for employers, increased prices at the marketplace, entitlement among lower paid employees? Maybe; maybe not. Who can hire an employee for $7.25 anyway? Not in this employment market. I saw a fast food restaurant advertising a starting rate of $10.51 this weekend. There are things to think through in this, but it may not be as extreme as some paint it.
  • Regulatory Reform – President Elect Trump has gone on record saying, “In 2015 alone, federal agencies issued over 3,300 final rules and regulations, up from 2,400 the prior year. Every year, overregulation costs our economy $2 trillion." Businesses may love a reprieve; watchdog groups and those who view employers through a skewed negative lens may not. Will this change? Maybe; maybe not. There are existing laws related to regulatory reform that haven’t been enforced. A lot could be done in regulatory reform. Time will tell.
  • Tax Reform – President Elect Trump has promised to reduce the tax rate on businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. He believes, “An explosion of new business and new jobs will be created. It will be amazing to watch. We will also allow U.S.-based manufacturers to fully expense the cost of new plants and equipment." Can he pull that off? Maybe; maybe not. There’s still a huge budget deficit to contend with. Less revenue doesn’t help that in the short run. He’s still got to get a budget through Congress, which is not a slam-dunk.
  • Maternity Leave – President Elect Trump is calling for a new paid maternity leave funded through unemployment insurance. He believes this can be made possible by a huge reduction in improper payments currently being made under the unemployment system. There are groups decrying this for everything from the fact that it doesn’t include paternity leave, to those who believe there is no fraud in the unemployment system. Can he overhaul this? Maybe; maybe not. The concept of providing government-funded maternity leave is very progressive. But the money comes from an employer tax. Expect this one to get some interesting reactions.
  • Child Care – President Elect Trump has called for incentives for employers to provide on-site child care. He also wants to see an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for low income households as well as tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for child and elder care. Can he pull it off? Maybe; maybe not. It sounds pretty progressive. There may be those who opposed it based on that. But there are progressives saying that this will disproportionally favor the rich. It’s probably brilliant. If you take care of one of the biggest concerns and distractions that parents have at work, it allows them to focus more on their career development and frees them to be more productive.

We go through this every few years as we switch who controls the White House and Congress. Change is a constant in our world. Employers have an opportunity to model the change resilience that they want their team members to have. Don’t overreact. Don’t be change-resistant. Look for opportunities. Create solutions. Look ahead. Lead.


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