Labor Law This week has seen a sea of change in the balance of power in Washington DC with the Republicans gaining a significant majority in the House of Representatives. In addition, at least ten states have moved from Democrat to Republican governors. Democrats have kept control of the Senate, which may provide a counter balance and force a more centrist approach, helping to tone down the extremes on both the left and the right.
So what might this mean for HR practitioners? At the very least, John Boehner of Ohio (R), the new Speaker of the House, and his Republican colleagues will push to cut spending, maintain the Bush tax cuts, and block “Obama Care”.
Blocking Obama Care, for example may be achieved by Republican leaders at the state and national level refusing to run the health insurance exchanges that are integral to the Obama health plan. The exchanges are supposed to act as a market place for consumers without health insurance so they can purchase affordable health care coverage.
Another provision of the Obama health care reforms are that by Jan. 1, 2011, most large employers are required to implement certain health care reforms such as extending coverage to adult children to age 26. If these changes are to be reversed it will cause an administrative headache for many employers to say nothing of the negative impact on employees for whom this is a popular provision in the new legislation.
Other legislation currently going through the House such as the Paycheck Fairness Act could be impacted. This legislation aims to bridge the pay gap for women who earn less than men for doing a comparable job. Many republicans consider that it is not the role of government to tell employers how to pay their employees.
All this uncertainty is having an impact on employer’s attitudes towards hiring and many are resisting taking on new employees until there is greater clarity about the direction of the economy, taxation, and employment law.
So here is Today’s Daily HR Tip: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst! Proceed with any planned changes to your benefits systems to accommodate the requirements of the Obama Care legislation but try to make any changes easily reversible given the current legislative uncertainly.
Kevin is an Industrial/Organizational psychologist and management consultant specializing in organizational development, employee development, and human capital management.