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I’m certain that over the last few weeks you probably have heard, either from the media, workplace watercooler discussion or social media, that on November 8th, 2016, we are voting for our next President of the United States. Hopefully, you are registered to vote. A reported 47% of your employees are discussing the election at the office and given the shenanigans of our Presidential candidates and the media circus surrounding them, I expect that number to be much higher. And it’s because of this media circus that I wanted to take a step back and take a look at workplace election issues that our next President and the republican or democratic parties will be asked to address.
Eight Presidential Election Issues That Impact Your Work
- Paid Time Off to Vote. This is topic that arrives every election day. Specific state laws vary requiring that employer compensate employees allowing them adequate time either before or after their shift to vote. Here’s a list of state specific time off to vote laws. I would advise prepping your leadership team on your state laws prior to election day.
- Equal Pay. The topic of equal pay is an important one. In June, the white house summit hosted an equal pay summit. Obama’s administration and also Clinton’s are clear about their position on equal pay. Clinton has made mention of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Immigration. This is a topic that, although covered by the media, has not been discussed enough. Jason Finkelman, who writes for the blog has written a great deal on this subject. Read this here, here and here.
- Workplace Flexibility. Workplace flexibility is changing with the recent changes regarding the FLSA and its overtime rule as well as the remote worker. Career paths are being redefined as more workers enter and exit the workplace more fluidly due to the gig economy.
- Healthcare. This topic includes the ACA or Affordable Care Act, it’s coverage, cost and proposed changes that will impact employers and our current benefits offerings. There are still questions surrounding what will happen if Trump is elected and he moves to repeal the ACA. SHRM’s position is to push for an ACA excise tax.
- Working Parent Issues. This issue includes leave, paid time off and work scheduling, maternity and paternity leave as well as the increase in remote work. Keep in mind only 13% of employers offer paid leave programs for parents according to a recent SHRM report.
- Sexual Harassment. While not necessarily, an issue that either party is calling for changes about. However, the election has brought forth discussion about harassment personally and professionally. Not surprisingly but 54% of people reported to have experienced sexual harassment at work.
- Minimum Wage. Aside from salary equality, an increase in the federal minimum wage has been a topic that has led to little discussion by our Presidential candidates. Clinton has promised to increase the federal minimum wage to $12.
Where Do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Workplace Election Issues?
Election topics that impact the workplace while important to discuss are not something that was addressed during the Presidential or Vice-President debates which it why I thought it was important to address the promises as it relates to human resources and the workplace the candidates have promised to change or uphold.
Clinton promises to
- Increase the federal minimum wage to at least $12 per hour.
- Support up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
- Seek to enact the Paycheck Fairness Act.
- Defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Support comprehensive immigration reform.
Trump promises to
- Reform regulations and reduce taxes.
- Attack the trade deficit.
- Repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Support up to six weeks of paid maternity leave and encourage employers to provide child care at work.
- Push for nationwide E-Verify.
- Call for an increase in the prevailing wage for H-1B visas.
- Favor a small-business exemption from the overtime rule.
These promises by the Presidential candidates as reported by SHRM might seem small, but when you consider the importance of the workplace not just for HR professionals and business leaders, workplace issues in this election are extremely important. It is important to factor in when you are making the decision the candidate and party that gets your vote. These are topics that not only business leaders and HR professionals need to be aware of, but also your workforce as these promises directly impact them and their pocketbook. They might not see the path and interest directly. This simple fact might be an opportunity for your to educate and express why these issues matter in your offices and workplace.