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Every year, a new set of business rules goes into effect, and changes are always on the horizon. Here are three that local businesses should track in 2017.

Changing the EEO-1 Reporting Form: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is adding compensation data for everyone on the payroll for any employers with more than 100 employees. Currently, employers must report age, race and gender statistics for everyone on the payroll. The compensation data could shed light on how many companies are failing to offer equal pay for equal work and could lead to punishment for companies that are violating the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The new reporting system begins March 2018.

Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage to $15 per hour: California did it. New York did it. Now that two of the three largest states in the country passed laws to gradually raise their respective minimum wage to $15 an hour and several big cities followed suit, could Florida be next? Florida’s minimum wage currently sits at $8.05 an hour. In 2016, two proposed bills in the Florida House and Senate died in the committee process, but don’t expect them to go away entirely. While it’s not inevitable, it’s a good idea for employers to start planning for what-ifs. 

Reevaluating NLRB Joint Employer Standards: The National Labor Relations Board in August 2015 made a landmark ruling to change its standard for determining whether two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce. A joint employer relationship might occur when you have a contract company whose employees work for a third party.

In a warehouse setting, where contractor agencies are often used, the new regulations would mean that the warehouse owner is liable for any employment-related claims brought by employees. Previously, only the contractor’s agency would have been liable. It also exists in franchise locations. A McDonald’s worker is technically an employee of the franchise owner and McDonald’s Corporation. With the NLRB’s new regulations, McDonald’s is liable for any labor violations that their franchisees may commit. The previous precedent, which stood for 30 years, required “direct and immediate” control over employees for joint-employment status to exist.

The move is opposed by business groups, such as the Coalition to Save Local Business, who believe that the ruling is vague and potentially damages long-standing relationships between small businesses. In 2017, Congress could intervene to repeal the decision.

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