Record Workplace Lawsuits Expected, Wage Growth, and more
Q4 2016 Wage Growth Exceeded Expectations, Expected to Continue Upward in 2017
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that average hourly wages rose 2.9 percent in 2016, which included a strong fourth quarter where many experts “expected to see poor performance…due to uncertainty after the [presidential] election”. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) says that American wages are expected to grow an average of 3.2 percent year over year in Q1 2017.
Record Workplace Lawsuits Expected Under Trump Administration
The Chicago Tribune reports that “while workplace agencies during the Obama years aggressively investigated and sued employers for violations, Republican administrations historically have backed off enforcement, and plaintiffs’ attorneys usually end up filing more lawsuits on behalf of workers to fill the void”. In 2016, payout for wage and hour class action settlements soared, with the payout value of the top ten cases up 200 percent from 2014. The Tribune says experts are forecasting an especially litigious 2017, blaming a combination of technology and increased awareness of wage and hour law, and even going so far as to say the number one risk to employers is tied to how employees are paid.
Study Shows Not Enough Being Done to Fight Workplace Age Bias
A recent study conducted by The Academy of Management has found a lack of “mature-age practices” to engage older workers. Human Resources Executive Online reports that while these types of programs have gone far to reduce stereotypes and increase mature worker engagement and overall productivity, most organizations have not adopted any such programs. Human Resources Executive Online encourages employers to consider reverse mentoring programs, and says challenging and meaningful work assignments should be available to all employees, regardless of age.
3M Americans Expected to Find New Jobs this Month Amidst Hot Job Market
In a labor rally that has been attributed in part to the new Trump administration entering the White House, more than 3 million American workers are expected to voluntarily resign from their current positions this month alone. The NY Post reports that January’s job market movement (and that of the first quarter) is gaining momentum from workers who have had little to no wage growth in almost a decade being wooed by companies on “hiring sprees”, causing a cyclical reaction allowing for the hottest job market since 2007.
Affordable Care Act Executive Order Signed
President Trump has signed an Executive Order to “Minimize the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal”. The document provides general instructions to federal agencies (including the Department of Health and Human Services), allowing them to grant waivers and exemptions to employers under certain conditions.
New Mandatory I-9 Form
Effective January 22, 2017, employers are now required to use the new I-9 form. While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released the new form in November of last year, employers were allowed to use the prior version until January 21, 2017.
NEW FEDERAL AND INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR REGULATIONS NOW IN EFFECT
Effective January 1st, new regulations have been put in place regarding federal contractor paycheck transparency, independent contractor notices, and paid sick leave obligations.