Whether the next president of the United States is Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he or she will likely introduce policies around employment and labor issues which will impact employers nationwide. Generally speaking, the Republican Party will take positions more in alignment with employers’ interests, while the Democratic nominee carries the banner for labor. But where do the 2016 Republican and Democrat candidates for the highest office stand on workplace issues?
The Clinton agenda may look very similar to what has come under President Barack Obama, with Clinton voicing support for raising the federal minimum wage, the recently passed overtime rules and concepts such as equal pay and paid family leave.
Trump—an unorthodox Republican candidate—has been harder to pin down, but he has spoken out on lowering business taxes, bringing back manufacturing jobs, making it harder to hire foreign workers and implementing a nationwide E-Verify system.
As the presidential race enters its final month, here’s a brief rundown of the candidates’ positions on workplace issues.
Closing the pay gap between men and women has been a hallmark issue in the Democratic nominee’s campaign. She has supported efforts from the Obama administration such as new rules requiring federal contractors and other employers with more than 100 workers to provide more pay data. Clinton also supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill she co-sponsored as a senator that would expand regulations around pay discrimination and strengthen federal enforcement efforts.
Trump has stated in interviews that he supports the concept of equal pay for equal work and his daughter Ivanka asserted during a speech at the Republican National Convention this summer that her father would make equal pay for equal work a reality in the workplace.
The candidates are divided on the future of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Trump has promised to repeal the law and replace it with a system that reduces coverage mandates for employers, allows individuals and small businesses to form interstate purchasing pools to expand coverage and enables access to imported drugs. Trump said he favors keeping the requirement that health plans cover pre-existing conditions and children of plan members through age 26.
The Clinton camp has promised to defend and even expand the ACA by helping workers with out-of-pocket costs.
Both candidates agree that the so-called “Cadillac tax,” a 40-percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage above certain thresholds, should be repealed. It is set to go live in 2020.
Predictably, Clinton has positioned herself as a staunch defender of labor unions. As a senator, she was a co-sponsor of the controversial Employee Free Choice Act, designed to certify a union if a simple majority of workers sign authorization cards in lieu of holding a secret ballot vote, as is currently done. The Democratic nominee also opposes right-to-work laws in which unions are prohibited from requiring employees be members and pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
Trump has not commented substantially on unionization, but his running mate, vice presidential candidate and Indiana governor Mike Pence, has been vigorous in keeping Indiana a right-to-work state and opposes the Employee Free Choice Act.
The Republican platform seeks to minimize the influence of labor unions in the workplace by supporting right-to-work laws, requiring transparency on how labor dues are spent and limiting the veto power of union officials.
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