January 6, 2013

Changes Ahead for HR as Obama Enters Second Term

capitolWhile the future is never certain, experts are already weighing in on what the effects of a second term for the current Obama administration will mean for HR professionals. The following five areas are expected to experience major changes over the next several years. A sampling of those changes are included that reflect the general consensus of experts in the industry.

Regarding immigration, Obama’s second term bodes well for the formulation of comprehensive immigration reform, despite staunch opposition by Congressional Republicans. The Department of Homeland Security has already set its sights on employers hiring undocumented workers and a central strategy apparent within the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement policy seems to be audits, which are increasingly shifting to enforcement of employer compliance rather than focusing on employees

The relationship between the Obama Administration and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is expected to continue on its previous path of favoring organized labor, especially through executive orders and agency initiatives. A direct consequence of this relationship will mean the continuance of the NLRB’s employee-friendly agenda.

Now that the Department of Labor is free from the pressures of an uncertain re-election of President Obama, it will likely increase efforts to enforce its wage and hour policies, including its Plan, Prevent, and Protect regulatory strategy and its proposal to update record-keeping requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The DOL’s right-to-know policy is set to require employers to disclose payment computation and analyze the classification of each non-FLSA covered employee.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will likely aggressively pursue its agenda to eliminate discrimination barriers in recruiting and hiring in addition to protecting immigrants and migrant workers from job discrimination.

Finally, under the healthcare reform law, employers must prepare for the introduction of new provisions as they come into effect for the foreseeable future. Such new regulations include the definition of essential healthcare benefits that must be provided in qualified health plans and the redefinition of “full time” and “minimum value” in regards to employer Pay-or-Play penalties.

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.