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Oct 18, 2016

As you weigh the pros and cons of each presidential candidate against your own personal beliefs and values, don’t forget to consider how each nominee could impact your role in HR and how your department operates.

Here’s some guidance on how the outcome of the 2016 election could potentially impact the U.S. HR industry.

Health insurance

If Donald Trump takes office, the way your organization manages its health care offerings may change as he promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with a system that relies less on government funding.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, says she’ll preserve the ACA while expanding its offerings – which means changes may arise if she alters the requirements for employers to offer employees insurance, such as the baseline of working hours and the number of employees on staff.

“By monitoring the presidential candidates’ positions on employer-sponsored health benefits, HR can better understand how they stand on such issues as the tax treatment of health benefits, the impending excise tax on high-value plans, wellness programs and the definition of full-time [employee],” says Chatrane Birbal, a government relations senior adviser at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in an article posted to the organization’s website.

In other words: Continue monitoring both Trump’s and Clinton’s policies as there could be major shifts in your companies’ ability to provide affordable health insurance, and the types of coverage offered to your workforce.


Under a Clinton presidency, you may need to revise your compensation packages, as she hopes to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. She first introduced the bill as a senator in an effort to update the 1963 Equal Pay Act and ensure women are paid fairly. Historically, Republicans have been opposed to enacting wage legislation, yet at the Republican Convention Ivanka Trump said her father “will fight for equal pay for equal work.” Trump has yet to incorporate this issue into his official platform.

Additionally, paid leave regulations may be impacted by this election. Trump’s plan released in September provides for 6 weeks of paid maternity leave and tax breaks for child and elderly care. Clinton says she would put forth legislation to guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for both men and women to care for newborns.

Immigration and global workforce mobility

“Immigration policy debates and changes to the employment verification process, as well as availability of employment-based visas, have major ramifications for the workplace, and the HR community must be engaged in this area,” says Mike Aitken, SHRM’s vice president of government affairs, on the SHRM website.

However, few HR professionals are taking a proactive approach to developing a strong knowledge base around visa sponsorship, as SHRM discovered in a recent survey that revealed 48% of its members haven’t accessed information on the topic in the past year.

In the 2016 VISANOW Immigration Trends report, we found that 40% of employers say expats were very important in filling their skills gaps, so we know there isn’t a lack of need. Other tasks, such as benefits, payroll and employee engagement, are often more top of mind, since immigration is tackled on a case-by-case basis. However, even if you’re not presently sponsoring an expat for a temporary or permanent assignment, you may want to adopt an international mindset as many more companies (read: your competitors) are entering the global market, requiring you to learn to compete at a higher level.

Not surprisingly, both candidates diverge on immigration and employment-based topics. Trump has been outspoken concerning his wish to release a nationwide E-Verify mandate, increase prevailing wage (the minimum compensation requirement for expats on permanent assignments) and raise immigration form fees. Clinton seeks to grant immediate green card sponsorship to science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates of master’s and Ph.D. programs and expand visa opportunities for entrepreneurs

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