A seismic shift in the political landscape inherently creates insecurity and hesitancy in businesses throughout the United States. An annual study conducted by a national employment law firm’s policy institute reveals that businesses in particular are facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty.
The sixth-annual survey of 1,200 respondents shows the combined effect of recently introduced technologies, a new presidential administration and agenda, and changing compliance standards at every government level.
Expectations of the new president are numerous, yet tempered. Reformed health care, employee benefits law and immigration policies top their lists.
The results show that businesses struggle with their optimism over quick changes in regulations already in place. Specific data on what seems to be borderline pessimism includes:
- Affordable Care Act, a two percent drop in optimism to 83 percent from the previous year
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcement, a reduction in 2017 of two percent to 76 percent
- National Labor Relations Board, a decrease of one percent to 55 percent
- Department of Labor, a single-digit reduction to 81 percent from 2016
Eighty percent of respondents see problems created by new state and local labor and employment requirements. They fear fragmentation in paid leave mandates, background checks, and minimum wage increases.
Twenty-five percent of businesses surveyed were uncertain about the future of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Twenty-eight percent expected no change or impact. Four percent expect to drop coverage for some full-time staff without the mandate while 18 percent would allow more employees to work more than 30 hours per week.
In the category of EEOC expectations, respondents predict an increase in discrimination claims in the coming year over hiring practices (51 percent), equal pay (46 percent) and LGBT rights (46 percent).
Finally, the bright media spotlight of data breaches leading to new IT security policies have created significant concerns in 63 percent of respondents. More than fifty percent have incorporated new training for incoming employees. Of that number, 29 percent are focusing their efforts on cyber-incident response and 23 percent plan to incorporate confidentiality obligations in employee contracts.