horizon home careLast week, I attended the monthly meeting for my local chapter of the Society for Human Resources (SHRM). The topic on the agenda: Employment Law Update for 2017. We were fortunate to have a distinguished panel of 6 attorneys who shared their wisdom and their forecast of what to expect with the new year and a new administration in Washington.

Four items relevant to the home care industry caught my attention:

  1. The joint employer issues are not going away anytime soon, even with a Republican Congress and pro-business President. This is followed closely by agency owners who belong to a franchise network. The D.C Circuit Court of Appeals is supposed to rule this year on the legality of the controversial interpretation of who joint employers are. If the current interpretation stands, franchisors (e.g. the corporations leading a franchise network) could be considered joint employers. They would then be exposed to collective bargaining obligations based on their common franchise name although there might not be shared ownership.
  2. Change in employment regulations won’t happen overnight. When it comes to the ACA “repeal and replace”, all legal minds agreed that repealing Obamacare is easy but replacing it is hard. No one in Congress has a viable plan laid out yet. Any replacement will likely take 3 years before it impacts the workplace.
  3. New and different laws are coming near you – State governments (and some localities) are implementing a patchwork of employment laws with different rules based on city limits and state lines. Current hot topics for local legislators: minimum wage, sick pay, marijuana, and Ban the Box. Those will certainly impact home care agencies in those geographies. Stay informed. Seek professional advice to remain compliant when hiring new staff (link to Acuity Scheduling 20-minute call).
  4. Comfort pets in the workplace – Get Ready! On a lighter note but of concern to any employer, HR professionals working in higher education shared a growing trend of “comfort pets” being brought into the classroom and university dorms. The little creatures (hamsters, gerbils, lizards) are carried in pockets by students unbeknown to anyone until they run loose. Those students will grow up to become employees very soon. Are you ready to accommodate a comfort pet in your workplace? (link to Acuity Scheduling 20-minute call).

Attorney Tom Lucas concluded with “Who really knows what will happen?” Expecting the unexpected is what you do as an agency owner or manager. If you don’t want to be caught unprepared, consider a review of your caregiver recruitment actions. Sign up for the Recruitment Fitness Test.