Pro-Employee vs. Pro-Employer: The Future of HR Compliance

The fate of employee legislation has swayed between pro-employee and pro-employer trends for decades. While the current legislation leans in favor of employees, the coming years will be shaped by political appointments, state decisions, and most importantly, the 2016 election. The future of HR compliance may seem a little foggy, but we’re here to clear it up with our new report, The Pro-Employee Tide: Trends in HR Compliance.

Recent data suggest that Americans support pro-employee legislation. A poll of eligible voters found that they would be 64 percent more likely to support a politician that advocated for a minimum wage increase, with 72 percent in support of those advocating for paid leave. Another poll found that 81 percent of likely voters were in favor of a paid leave mandate. These voices are a large force pushing HR compliance in a pro-employee direction. 

On the other side of the compliance aisle are pro-employer advocates, who have seen this turn before. After a wave of employer-focused rulings under the Reagan administration, employees took a stand in the ‘90’s. The push and pull from both sides reached a stalemate in the early 2000’s, but the pro-employee side seems to be pulling out ahead.

The question is, are employees’ efforts enough to keep the pro-employee trend fueled, or will history repeat itself?

Back and Forth

Although the stalemate has leaned to the employee side, there is still a push against these legislations in the pro-employer Congress. The stalling has prompted President Obama to take matters into his own hands, putting pressure on states to pass paid leave and minimum wage legislations. And many states have responded.

Following President Obama’s lead, states and cities have taken matters into their own hands and passed several rules on minimum wage, paid leave, and criminal background checks. The progress in the last few years for these pro-employee initiatives has grown at resounding speeds at the city and state level, although federal mandates for the same matters have stayed constant.

Despite the push against change from Congress, 2016 marks a turn for the pro-employee side. It also marks the finale of President Obama’s eight-year term, and as an advocate for pro-employee legislation, his departure could be a decider in the fate of this pro-employee trend. The 2016 election is a big deal for a number of reasons, but the effect it will have on the future of HR compliance is enormous.  

The Supreme Vote

The appointment of Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement in the Supreme Court could have as much influence on employee legislation as our next President, and the appointment depends on November’s election. There are several pending employment law cases that cannot be closed until a replacement is chosen, and he or she could be the deciding vote on a number of those disputes. These results reach beyond HR compliance predictions and, yet, will heavily influence employment law.

The next few months could make all the difference for the future of HR compliance. With a new president and an addition to the Supreme Court on the horizon, employee legislation could lean in to the pro-employee trend or be turned back by a pro-employer wave. One thing’s for sure, all eyes are on the race for the White House.

Want to know the current state of HR compliance?

Download Namely’s full mid-year compliance report

for all the key takeaways from 2016’s historic rule changes. 


Group Wateringflowers

See how Namely's flexible solution will help you streamline your HR processes by having your people, payroll, and benefits info all in on place.

Get a demo

Get the latest news from Namely about HR, Payroll, and Benefits.

CTA Image Rocket
CTA Image Mobile