Handling the Post-election Days in Your Workplace

So, we all woke up on Wednesday and found it wasn’t a dream – Donald J. Trump had won the presidency.  Regardless of how you voted our democratic system has spoken and now we need to move forward with compassion.  As Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.”(1)

No laws will change in the next few months.  If you buy insurance on the Exchange or have renewal dates – like most employers – before December 31st, your health care for 2017 is already set.  It won’t change even if the House and Congress vote to repeal the Affordable Health Care law as the first order of business in the new session in January.  If your policies renew in the spring, unfortunately you will probably be in for a rough session of negotiations and premium hikes due to the uncertainty that will be in the insurance market place for a while.

The new DOL regulations on minimum salary for exempt employees (Overtime rules) will still go into effect on December 1st.  And if they are defeated in 2017 you can bet that the Wage and Hour Division will be coming around with a fine tooth comb to look at the duties test for all exempt employees making less than $47,000 per year. Remember being exempt from overtime requires a two-part test – duties and salary.

What will change immediately?  It is going to be even harder than usual to get buy-in for the 401K or other retirement savings plan offered by your company if the stock markets react with volatility to the results they did not anticipate.  And there are going to be some very upset voters who will need awhile to process the results. This election brought out passions in both parties.  Your younger employees may be in most need of compassion and consoling at this time.  The need to take the long view and to stay engaged over time to bring about the changes you want are something most of us learn only as we mature.  Hillary Clinton said it best in her speech when she told the audience how she has had success and painful setbacks.  “Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public and political careers.  You will have successes and setbacks, too.  This loss hurts but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.  It is.  It is worth it.”(2)

Young, old, Democrat or Republican when it comes right down to it we all want the same thing, we just see different ways to get there.  We want:

  • A steady reliable job that pays a fair wage for our efforts at work.
  •  A government that helps the majority – the middle and lower classes – not just the politicians and top 1%.
  • Less regulations on small business and more services to help them start and grow.
  • A clear path to a good job and life for our children, preferably without them having to move away.
  • Less violence and more respect for me and my group – whatever group you identify with.

The next two years with the Republicans having a majority in the House and Senate and the presidency will be a trying time for many who have social goals different from those laid out by the Republicans.  These people need to be refocused onto their local politics and preparing for the mid-terms in 2018.  After all Hillary Clinton earned slightly more of the popular vote than Trump and there were results in the local elections – here in Portland, Maine and elsewhere – that point to larger social trends different to the Republican campaign rhetoric.  Portland voted in an African born Muslim to city council.  And elsewhere in the country Ilhan Omar won a seat in the Minnesota state House, becoming the nation’s first Somali-American legislator.  As a hajib wearing Muslim woman, Omar vividly represents the diversity of the area and a rejection of the hatred so often voiced this election cycle.  And I am sure there are other examples across the country.

Now is a time to teach and practice civility in the workplace and the community.  Let’s come together and work towards a better life for all. Or as Hillary Clinton said “So, my friends, let us have faith in each other.  Let us not grow weary.  Let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come, and there is more work to do.”(3)

   

Over the next few weeks there will be much written about the election and the policies that the Republicans will be bringing forward.  One source for how your employment policies and procedures will be effected is SHRM – The Society of Human Resource Management.  Their daily newsletter outlined some early policy hints.  It can be accessed through their web-site www.shrm.org.  

Or give me a call and I will be happy to help you identify regulation that will affect your workplace and prepare you and your employees for the changes.  I can be reached at hughes.carolyn.ann@gmail.com or 207-846-5403.

Carolyn Hughes
Aventure Management LLC


(1)From the transcript of the Hillary Clinton’s concession speech prepared and posted online by the team at the ABC network.  November 9, 2016 Link: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/full-text-hillary-clintons-2016-election-concession-speech/story?id=43388311
(2)Ibid.
(3)Ibid.