New Year Means New Regulations for Businesses

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While you are busy trying to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions, remember that 2018 also brings a changing regulatory climate which can significantly affect small businesses across the United States.

Don’t get caught off guard! Ensure that you have a plan in place to not only operate under new regulations, but to also handle the disappearance of old regulations that have affected businesses for years.

Here are the top four things to pay attention to as a small business owner in 2018

Possible Changes to Overtime Rules

Just as you might have paid attention to potential changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by the Department of Labor in the last year, be on the lookout for more changes to come in 2018.

Alexander Acosta, the Secretary of Labor, has suggested recently that he would consider increasing the salary threshold for exempt employees. The current administration believes that the Obama-era FLSA adjustments were too high. Meaning any new increases would be much more modest.

Health Care Reform

It’s a hot-button issue in Washington and is on all business owners’ minds heading into 2018. With Congress having difficulty passing a new health care plan, the president is now making incremental proposals. This is in efforts to fix some of the insurance problems facing the country.

Just earlier this month, President Trump proposed new rules that would allow small business owners to band together to create their own customized health insurance plans. This is for employees that would be exempt from the consumer protections found in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

If these rules come to fruition, it would save businesses money on the health plans they offer their employees by cutting out some benefits currently mandated by the ACA.

Minimum Wage Increases

While not applicable across the entire U.S., 18 states and 20 cities will be increasing their minimum wage rates starting in 2018. Hopefully you’ve been paying attention, and you are probably well aware of these changes for 2018. That being said, don’t expect any significant changes to the federal minimum wage rates. These increases in minimum wages are often lead at the local level which is beneficial for businesses that believe the market will dictate what wage is worth for their area.

If you operate in an area with one of these recent increases, you’ll likely have to make changes to your hiring practices and the number of employees you manage to ensure the increase doesn’t negatively impact your business.

Optimism for the Future

With the passage of the GOP tax plan, businesses both big and small are excited to reinvest their newfound savings into equipment and employee benefits among other things. In fact, according to reports included in the Small Business Index for Q4 2017, 63.2% of small business owners are optimistic about the future.

So far, President Trump has held his promise of repealing regulations that he claims are stifling business growth in the United States. While it’s not certain which regulations could be rolled back next or whether they are beneficial for small businesses. You can definitely count on less new regulations for the next couple of years.

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