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Obama's Labor Regs in Trouble

Politico reports what Trump plans on doing to all the labor progress made under President Obama

Posted on
Dec 02, 2016

Trump appears poised to roll back nearly every major labor-and-employment regulation and administrative ruling issued under President Barack Obama. Here's a partial rundown of what to expect:

Executive Orders: With a mere signature, Trump can erase any of Obama's executive orders related to labor and employment. On the list of possible targets: executive orders that required prospective federal contractors to disclose previous labor law violations; that raised the minimum for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour; that prohibited federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation; and thatrequired federal contractors to provide employees at least seven paid sick days per year. It's unclear whether Trump will repeal all of these orders, given his (albeit fluid) support for a $10 federal hourly minimum wage, up from the currently $7.25, and Ivanka Trump's support of paid leave policies. But he'll surely repeal at least some of them.

Overtime: Trump likely won't have much to do to kill the Obama administration's overtime rule, which is on life support after a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction to delay the rule's implementation, originally set to begin Dec. 1. Although the injunction is temporary, Judge Amos Mazzant, an Obama appointee, strongly suggested he would toss the rule, which would double (to $47,476) the salary threshold under which virtually all workers must receive time-and-a-half pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in a given week. The Justice Department appealed the injunction Thursday, but litigation is likely to continue into the Trump administration. Trump is unlikely to want to pursue the appeal, given that that he's already said he'd like to scale it back.

Fiduciary Rule: DOL's fiduciary rule is a bit harder to kill off, but it won't likely survive the Trump administration intact. The rule requires that broker dealers consider only their client's best interest (and not, for instance, brokerage fees or commissions) when providing retirement advice. The Trump Labor Department could repeal or modify the rule, but that would require a cumbersome notice and comment process that could take months. An easier option would be to broaden certain exemptions in the rule - a process that's relatively simple under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The DOL could broaden the so-called "best interest contract exemption," which allows brokers to continue receiving brokerage fees provided that they disclose those fees to the client and that they act only in the client's best interest.

For more a complete survey of the likely fate of major Obama labor regulations and rulings, read POLITICO Pro's Marianne LeVine's story.

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