Changes and Trends in HR – What to Look for in 2018
On February 8, 2018 By Lauren E.B. Belcher
Last year, we looked at several changes that were anticipated beginning in 2017. During the past year, we have seen first steps toward changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations, along with several growing trends in human resources.
Just two months before the inauguration in January 2017, the FLSA overtime rule was halted by Texas federal judge, Amos Mazzant. Today (at the time of this article), the Department of Labor (DOL), is working to revise regulations regarding the exemption of executive, administrative, and professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The DOL states that until its final rule, the November 30, 2016 rulings will stand, including the standard weekly salary level of $455/week.
When we receive information on the DOL’s final ruling, we will report it to you.
As of September 2017, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains intact. If a repeal had taken place, the employer mandate would have been removed and states would have gained more control over health care requirements. Currently, employers should remain compliant with all ACA requirements. (SHRM) However, with the recent passing of the new tax bill, the requirement of individuals to have health care or pay a penalty was removed. (New York Times; NYT)
In addition, the new corporate tax rate will fall to 21 percent – down from the current 35 percent rate. It is anticipated that individuals will also see an increase in after-tax incomes by an average of 2.2 percent according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. (NYT)
In mid-April 2017, an executive order nicknamed, “Buy American, Hire American.” was issued. “Buy American” laws were put in place to “promote economic and national security and to help stimulate economic growth, create good jobs at decent wages, strengthen our middle class, and support the American manufacturing and defense industrial bases…” (Executive Order No. 13788) The “Buy American” laws will affect the procurement of manufactured products to be used for federal and/or federally-funded projects.
The “Hire American” laws were issued “in order to create higher wages and employment rates for workers in the United States, and to protect their economic interests…” (Executive Order No. 13788)
The United States has seen increasingly strong economic growth through 2017.
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), more than two million jobs were created, with the “manufacturing and mining and logging” and “construction” industries topping the category with a combination of nearly 500,000 new jobs created in 2017. With all the new jobs created in 2017, unemployment is at just 4.1 percent, matching a 17-year low. (DOL)
Trends to Look For in 2018
- Employee Experience – continued move away from focusing on employee engagement to focusing on employee experience. Employee experience incorporates engagement, culture and performance management all in one. Apps and productivity tools are among some of the technology that will be increasingly used to enable “understanding and development” of employee experience. (Forbes)
- HR Digitalization – Recruitment practices are becoming more effective with the aid of digital tools and artificial intelligence. These technological advances are also lowering the cost of recruitment. (Forbes)
- “Gig Economy” – defined by the BBC as a “labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work.” (Forbes) Changing the way benefits are being implemented, employers are using more voluntary benefits to retain gig and part-time employees. (SHRM)
- Remote Workforce – Telecommuting has grown exponentially over the past twenty years. According to Forbes, it has quadrupled – thanks, in part, to VPN technology and growing remote access to work systems. Telecommuting goes hand-in-hand with gig economy, allowing employers to better retain employees and provide a more satisfying work-life balance.
- “Gamification” – defined by Forbes as “the idea of turning engagement into a competitive game format,” gamification offers a potentially engaging way for employers to recruit employees using apps and analytics. (Forbes)
These changes and trends are just a few to watch for as we near the mid-first quarter of 2018. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns or questions you may have.