Small Business Labor Pains

Date: March 22, 2016

It’s small biz versus big labor when it comes to minimum wage, paid leave and other labor regulations.

While NFIB scored many victories against Big Labor in 2015, the fight isn’t over. In addition to predictive scheduling, equal pay and ban the box, these issues will remain important:

Minimum Wage and Paid Leave

More than half the states have minimum wages higher than the federal level. And in 2015, municipalities such as Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Kansas City, Birmingham and St. Louis moved forward with their own minimum wage increases. 

The same has happened with paid leave. Seattle, San Francisco, L.A. and Philadelphia are among the cities that have passed paid leave bills, and more proposals are coming. In D.C., for example, officials are considering a whopping 16-week paid leave proposal. Furthermore, the Department of Labor is spending $1.55 million to help state and local governments explore paid leave policies.

State Government-Run Pension Plans

Illinois, as the poster child for disastrous public pension systems, has grabbed most of the headlines about pension shortfalls, but it’s not the only state facing a pension crisis. Across the country, state-run retirement systems, when combined with local pension system shortfalls, are collectively facing a $1 trillion funding gap.

Joint Employer Liability

In August 2015, the National Labor Relations Board overturned the existing joint employer standard and expanded the definition to include indirect, direct and even potential unexercised control over employees. The new, broader standard will make it easier for unions to get their foot in the door of larger companies by organizing and arguing through a subcontractor. For small businesses, this ruling could make subcontractors, temp agencies and similar organizations larger targets for unionization. Independent franchisees will likely need permission from the franchisor to hire, fire and discipline employees as well.

Expansion of Overtime Eligibility

In 2015, Pres. Barack Obama directed the Department of Labor to revise rules on overtime eligibility, proposing the salary threshold be more than doubled to $50,440. Although designed to bring more money to more workers, in reality it would force business owners to limit workers to 40 hours a week and scale back managerial staff.

Keep up with these battles and more at

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