On Thursday, April 27, Alexander Acosta was confirmed as the nation’s new labor secretary — the last Cabinet position to be filled under President Donald Trump. With this critical appointment for the federal Department of Labor (DOL), many employers are keenly interested in what lies ahead. How will Acosta influence the policies and actions of the DOL — and how will this affect the way you run your business and manage your employees?
At ComplyRight, we’re committed to freeing employers from the burden of tracking and complying with complex federal laws and regulations, so we’re keeping close tabs on this appointment, as well. Though we can’t predict with any certainty what Acosta and his staff will do in the coming months, we’ll be watching for action on several timely legal issues that now fall under his direction.
“Many workplace rules will move from the back burner,” says Susan Drenning, President of ComplyRight. “The question, then, becomes whether Acosta will amend them, repeal them or perhaps even decide to not enforce them.”
First things first: In his early days, Acosta will most likely focus on the administrative task of selecting the political appointees to manage the sub-agencies of the 20,000-person DOL workforce. Almost immediately, he’ll need to choose approximately 20 department heads and high-level leaders, followed by about 120 management executives largely responsible for the ground efforts of the agency. Among the key selections are the wage and hour administrator, the assistant secretary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the officer of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
“I’m curious about these appointments because these individuals will have a hand in many legal and regulatory decisions that impact our customers,” says Drenning. “As incoming secretary, Acosta will set his sights on several items he’d like to accomplish, and whom he selects for these key positions will provide some insight about his agenda.”
Of the more than 180 federal laws the DOL administers and enforces, there are a handful of rules that are either in development or newly enacted under the previous Obama administration — all of which will demand the attention of the new DOL leader. How Acosta treats them could provide a clue to the agency’s regulatory and enforcement approach going forward.
These rules include:
In addition to the above issues, Acosta will play a pivotal role in any “worker-friendly” paid sick leave and equal pay rules coming out of the DOL, as well as strategic enforcement of proper independent contractor classification and whistleblower protections.
Something else to keep in mind: President Trump has proposed a 21% cut to the DOL’s budget. Though it would seem such a deep cut would strain the DOL’s staffing, investigation and enforcement efforts, it’s too early to know how that will play out. At least, initially, the budget proposal targeted a series of grant programs it would reduce or eliminate.
“Like with the actual issues now in the spotlight, we’ll have to wait and see how small businesses are impacted by a new labor secretary and potential DOL budget cuts,” says Drenning. “No matter the twists and turns in the employment law landscape, we’ll be watching and providing guidance and support as you begin to navigate them.”
Employers across the country are faced with a lot when considering how to manage political discussion at work. During our … Read more
Emotions are running high as the November 2020 presidential and congressional elections draw near. During these particularly volatile political and … Read more
Before the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on June 15, 2020, gay, lesbian and transgender workers were shielded from workplace … Read more
Employers across the country are faced with a lot when considering when and how to bring employees back to work … Read more
As employers around the country consider when and how to bring employees back to work, they face a multitude of … Read more
As employers inch closer to reopening their doors and resuming regular operations, worker safety is of utmost concern. The coronavirus … Read more
Get the latest news and free resources from ComplyRight delivered straight to your inbox.
You've just unlocked a wealth of FREE resources to build HR confidence.
ComplyRight provides free educational resources related to employee management, labor law and compliance. Better understand HR basics and learn how to address specific issues by browsing our knowledge center.
At ComplyRight, our mission is to free employers from the burden of tracking and complying with the complex web of federal, state and local employment laws, so they can stay focused on managing and growing their businesses.
©2020 ComplyRight, Inc.