How has the Trump Administration Affected Workers Rights?

President Trump’s campaign focused heavily on issues relevant to the working class, partly explaining his success in the 2016 election. Currently, the Trump administration emphasizes that unemployment numbers are hitting record lows. With more and more Americans working, we should consider the current state of workers rights in America.

Minimum Wage Policy

During his 2016 campaign, President Trump advocated for a $10 per hour federal minimum wage. However, since his election, there has been no increase in the federal minimum wage, which remains at $7.25 an hour. However, many states and cities have mandated minimum wage policies that are higher than the federal minimum wage. For example, in the state of New York, the minimum wage is $11.10 per hour. In New York City, the minimum wage is even higher, sitting at $13.50 per hour for businesses with fewer than 10 employees and $15.00 per hour for businesses with over 11 employees.

Overtime Wage Policy

The Trump administration has taken action to change federal overtime policy.  Most full-time, salaried workers who earn less than a federal earning benchmark are overtime eligible. Over 60% of workers qualified for overtime eligibility in the 1970s. However, over the years, Congress failed to adjust the federal benchmark for inflation. Therefore, when Trump took office in 2016, the number of salaried, overtime-eligible workers was only 7 percent. The Obama administration attempted to raise the overtime benchmark to roughly $47,500 but failed when a federal judge blocked this policy. The Trump administration instead proposed a new benchmark of $35,300. This new standard would make roughly a million workers overtime eligible if it isn’t blocked by the courts. Estimates say that Obama’s original proposal would have affected over 4 million workers.

Trump Pushes Protections for Religious Employees

Last month, the Trump administration finalized new rules that affect religious health care workers. These new rules allow workers to more easily refuse to perform procedures that violate their religious beliefs. For example, a doctor who is morally opposed to abortion can legally refuse to perform one. When speaking about the new rules, President Trump said, “together, we are building a culture that cherishes the dignity and worth of human life." Although these “federal conscious” laws have been in place for over 40 years, the Trump administration’s new rules bolster their enforcement. Under the new rules, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is now referred to as a "law enforcement agency” that will more aggressively investigate alleged violations of religious freedom in the workplace.

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you have had issues at work regarding overtime, minimum wage, or religious discrimination seek legal assistance today. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.