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How Will President Trump Impact HR Policy? Here’s What He Can’t Control

Last week we shared a number of national issues that are under the president’s control. Please click here to read about items that President Trump can directly impact or influence.

At the state and local level, President Trump can influence, but certainly can’t control, issues and legislation. Local issues rose in importance during the Obama administration, when gridlock in Washington forced states and cities to address minimum wage, scheduling, paid family leave and overtime legislation.

National Pay Issues are Local Issues

National Fight for $15 Campaign

Here’s a story about how a national minimum wage proposal played out at a local level.

In February 2014, President Obama proposed a national minimum wage of $10.10/hour and signed an Executive Order that required this new minimum wage for federal contractors. Federal contractors became subject to the $10.10/hour minimum wage on January 1, 2015.

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In April 2014, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel was up for re-election. An alderman from the south side of Chicago, who was previously a community organizer and had the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) backing him, pushed Emanuel into a runoff. Shortly thereafter, Emanuel ran on a platform of a $13/hour minimum wage for the city.

Similarly, mayors in Kansas City and St. Louis both unveiled new minimum wage issues in order to avoid having a primary run from the left of the party. Both cities now have $15/hour minimum wages. In New York, Bill de Blasio won as an SEIU candidate. Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges used to be against a local minimum wage increase, and preferred a state or regional minimum wage. But she changed her position and is now speaking at Fight for $15 rallies to win re-election.

The Fight for $15 won’t be going away anytime soon. Nineteen major cities have mayoral campaigns around this issue in 2017. And although the 2016 election is in the history books, don’t forget that every state and local minimum wage ballot measure passed in the last election.

Paid Leave Expansion/Pay Equity Legislation

Movement in these areas continues unabated at city and state levels.

The paid leave issue began in two to three cities, with the support of roughly 500,000 activists. Paid leave is now in 30 jurisdictions and is growing organically. It is becoming a mainstream, non-partisan issue, and according to Align Public Strategies, it enjoys an 80 percent approval rating. Jurisdictions that already have paid sick leave will amend legislation to include paid family and medical leave. This has already happened in Washington, DC, and this bill will become the template for more cities.

Restrictive Scheduling Legislation

Predictive or Restrictive Scheduling is somewhat controversial legislation that is intended to protect workers in retail and restaurant industries by providing advance notice of schedules, among other things. Some argue that it’s a lose-lose for employees and employers, and as such this is a battle that the restaurant, hospitality and retail industries are losing in almost every jurisdiction. New York City is about to pass a law that will be the template for future bills in other jurisdictions.

Wage Theft Enforcement

Once a city passes a $15/hour minimum wage, an enforcement mechanism quickly follows. This is usually in the form of a wage board that ensures that employers comply with the minimum wage. This is a strategy that was developed by the labor community to eventually create mini-NLRBs throughout the country. A wage board is the first step towards this vision. In the future, the wage board could ensure compliance with leave laws, scheduling and other wage laws.

Los Angeles already has a wage board. Hilda Solis, the former Secretary of Labor, is currently on the city’s Board of Supervisors and is pioneering the local enforcement model.

State Overtime Legislation

States will revisit overtime rules, especially if they have Democratic governors and legislatures.


During the Obama administration, gridlock in Washington forced change at the local and state level. There’s no sign that this momentum will stop anytime soon. It’s critical for companies to get involved at the local level to protect their brands and interests.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you anticipate that the new administration will have an impact on your organization? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Liz D'Aloia
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