Trump Admin’s Labor Movements May not be Boon for Businesses

08.10.2017


By Liz Carey

Washington, DC (WorkersCompensation.com) – While many business analysts see the Trump administration as good for business, one expert says the administration’s policies may not be enough for companies with operations in multiple states.

According to a recently released report, business leaders remain confident in the President’s ability to stimulate growth and reform taxes. The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey is a quarterly survey of CEOs and outlooks for their business during the next six months. Trump’s administration is widely viewed as “pro-business” by respondents to the survey.

“The survey results reflect confidence from America’s leading employers in the prospects for tax reform, as well as the tangible economic benefits that tax reform will produce,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Chairman of Business Roundtable, in a statement released with the report. “CEOs are also responding to the Administration’s commitment to creating a more favorable regulatory environment, protecting the safety and health of our citizens while also protecting jobs.” 

A similar survey earlier this year by American Express of small and medium-sized businesses, showed that they are optimistic about President Trump’s pro-business agenda.

“Small and medium-sized enterprises have put strategies in place to grow product and service innovations, quickly respond to changing business demands and develop and retain skills and talent to help them thrive,” said Brendan Walsh, Executive Vice President, Global Commercial Payments, American Express in a statement. “They are confident about and invested in the future of their businesses.”

But Karen Elliott, an attorney with Eckert Seamans in Virginia, said that while federal policies may be shifting toward business interests, the widely varied state regulations will still create hurdles for businesses to overcome.

“We know where the line is drawn at the federal level, but what we’re seeing is a plethora of state laws that may not fall in line with the federal laws,” Elliott said in an interview with WorkersCompensation.com. “A business with operations in four different states may have four different sets of regulations with four different reporting requirements. So while the administration may be perceived as business friendly, we still have a chicken pox of regulations that may not be perceived as business friendly at the state level. 

Elliott said the state laws impact everything from how to hire employees to whether or not a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.

Case in point, she said, was the recent rollback of the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor memorandums on employment that gave “informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors.”

While those guidelines may have been withdrawn, she said, states have already enacted their own definitions of what is an independent contractor and those states will continue to use their own employment tests to determine whether or not a worker is an employee. 

“Employers need to be cognizant that there are state regulations,” she said. “If there are regulations that the federal level that protect employees, there may be state regulations that alter those protections.”


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