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State, local compliance vexes employers most

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

While policy changes in Washington will eventually affect workplace practices, employers’ most difficult current challenges are being driven by state and local regulations, according to a new Littler Mendelson survey of HR professionals, in-house attorneys and senior executives.

The employment law firm found that 79% of respondents either agree or strongly agree that new labor and employment-related state and local requirements have created challenges in “complying with a patchwork of rules and regulations.”

The Trump administration’s halting start on health care and immigration reform means state and local compliance initiatives have moved to the top of employers’ lists of policy worries. Plus, a smaller federal regulatory footprint is likely to magnify the impact of state and local policies.

 “As states and municipalities continue to propose and enact a dizzying array of rules and regulations, it is no wonder employers are struggling with the increasingly fragmented landscape,” said Michael Lotito, co-chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute. “With the Trump administration working to reduce federal regulations, employers can expect a growing patchwork of employment regulations as states and municipalities look to fill a perceived void at the federal level.”

Of the array of changes at the state and local levels, respondents have been most affected by paid leave mandates (59%), background check restrictions (48%) and minimum wage increases (47%).

To keep up, 85% of employers are updating their policies, handbooks and HR procedures; 54% are providing additional employee training; and 50% are conducting internal compliance audits.

Employers don’t expect a let-up in EEOC activity. Fifty-one percent said they anticipate more EEOC scrutiny of criminal background checks in hiring, as well as discrimination claims involving sexual orientation and gender identity issues and equal pay.

Download the full Littler Annual Employer Sur­vey report at www.littler.com/files/2017_littler_executive_employer_survey.pdf.

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