On Tuesday, the Trump administration took another step in its effort to roll back Obama-era labor laws, unveiling a new proposal that would allow employers to offer workers less paid time off.
The proposed rule would allow employers to offer workers as little as one week of paid vacation—down from the current minimum of two weeks. The administration also proposed increasing the maximum amount of unpaid leave that workers can take under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) from 12 weeks to 16 weeks.
The new proposals were met with criticism from worker advocates and Democratic lawmakers. Senator Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement that the proposals would “make it harder for working families to make ends meet.”
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defended the proposed rules, saying they would give businesses more flexibility and that they would help employees who want to take more time off.
This is just the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era labor laws. In May, the administration announced a proposal to undo an Obama-era rule that made it easier for workers to unionize. And in December, the Trump administration overturned an Obama-era rule that made it easier for federal contractors to require salary history information from job applicants.
The Trump administration announced a new rule on Thursday that would make it easier for employers to avoid paying overtime to millions of workers.
The new rule, which will take effect in January 2020, raises the salary threshold at which hourly workers are eligible for overtime pay from $23,660 to $35,000. That means that employees who earn less than $35,000 a year will not be automatically entitled to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours a week.
The administration said the change would allow employers to give workers bonuses and raise their pay without triggering overtime payments.
But labor unions and other opponents of the change argued that it would result in lower wages for workers and fewer opportunities for them to earn overtime.
“This is about creating financial incentives for employers to cut people’s hours, or not hire them in the first place,” said Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
The salary threshold was last updated in 2004, and since then it has lost 30 percent of its value due to inflation. The new rule would raise it back to where it was in 1975, when adjusted for inflation.
The White House said the change would benefit 1 million workers; opponents say it will benefit millions more.
The Trump administration has announced it will be making changes to the 1974 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that gave workers the right to unionize.
According to a report from the National Journal, the Trump administration plans to revise the so-called “joint employer” rule, which would make it more difficult for workers to unionize. The proposed changes would also make it more difficult for companies to be held accountable for labor violations committed by their contractors or franchisees.
The joint employer rule was created in response to a series of NLRB decisions that made it easier for companies to avoid unionization by claiming that they were not directly responsible for labor violations committed by their franchisees or contractors.
Under the revised rule, companies could only be held liable for labor violations if they had direct control over the working conditions of employees. This would effectively make it more difficult for workers at franchise stores or contract-based workplaces to unionize or file complaints against their employers.
Labor unions have denounced the proposed changes, arguing that they will lead to even fewer protections for workers.
“This is nothing less than an attempt to rig the system against working people,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a statement.
Mitch Wexler, president of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw and an expert on labor law, agreed with this assessment.
“This is a big change and will likely have a significant impact on unions and their ability to organize workers,” Wexler said in an interview with The National Journal.
Since the election of Donald Trump, there have been a number of proposed labor law changes that will hurt the middle class.
One such proposal is to increase the salary threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. This would mean that workers who make less than $47,476 would be required to receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week.
While this may seem like a good idea in principle, in reality it would hurt the middle class.
The reason is that many workers who are currently paid a salary below $47,476 would suddenly become eligible for overtime pay. This would lead to increased costs for businesses, which would likely result in layoffs or reduced hours for these workers.
In addition, the Trump administration has proposed repealing regulations that make it easier for unions to organize. This could lead to fewer unionized workplaces, which would lead to lower wages and fewer benefits for workers.
The Trump administration has also proposed reducing the number of employees who are eligible for family and medical leave. This would mean that fewer workers would be able to take time off work to care for a sick family member or newborn child.
Overall, the Trump administration’s proposed labor law changes will hurt the middle class by leading to reduced wages and benefits, and fewer jobs.
In a series of recent moves, the Trump administration has sought to undermine important labor protections.
In July, the administration announced it would stop defending an Obama-era rule that made it easier for workers to unionize. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) rule made it harder for companies to fire or otherwise retaliate against workers who tried to unionize.
The administration also proposed a new rule that would make it more difficult for workers to file complaints alleging labor violations. Under the proposed rule, companies could require workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving their right to bring class action lawsuits.
These attacks on labor protections come amid a broader effort by the Trump administration to roll back worker protections. In May, the administration announced plans to undo an Obama-era rule that restricted the ability of employers to classify their employees as contractors.
The administration has also moved to undo other rules that protected workers’ rights, including rules that prevented employers from retaliating against whistleblowers and required employers to provide paid sick leave.
Democrats and labor unions have sharply criticized these moves by the Trump administration. Senator Elizabeth Warren said, “Donald Trump and his team of billionaires and lawyers are out there making it easier for companies to steal wages from their employees, cheat them on overtime, and fire them for joining a union. That is not what America is supposed to be about.”
Labor unions have promised to fight back against these attacks on labor protections. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “We will use every tool at our disposal…to stop these attacks on working people.”