The halls of Congress continue to resound with the clashing of ideological swords, and that cacophony will only become louder as the fall elections draw near.
What are the owners of small businesses keeping an eye on during this election season? Paychex, the payroll company that serves myriad small businesses, took the pulse of some of its clients and came up with a list of the top 5 small biz election issues. They are, in order of importance:
1. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Paychex says small business owners are trying to get ready to implement the various provisions of the law that are due to take effect in 2015. Preparations need to be in place now, regardless of what the politicians may do to alter the various provisions. Among the most critical:
Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provisions;
ESR reporting requirements;
the 90-day waiting period limitation;
use of the orientation period within the 90-day waiting period;
renewal of non-compliant plans;
health insurance exchanges;
the small business tax credit.
If you’re not familiar with some or all of these, this would be the time to either call in the consultants are start educating yourself.
2. Immigration reform
Here’s a real political football, one that President Obama has threatened to go downfield with all by himself if he has to. Given the dependence on immigrant labor that many small businesses have, it’s little wonder Paychex encountered a lot of concern about where this one will wind up. Two key areas where the president has indicated he will use executive authority to get some action: expansion of amnesty through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and the use of prosecutorial discretion, which allows the government to prioritize which court cases it pursues.
3. Employment regulations
The top three of concern to small business owners:
The U.S. Department of Labor’s upcoming proposed rule impacting the number and types of employees eligible for overtime;
The pending adoption of a final rule to revise the definition of “spouse” in the Family and Medical Leave Act for various personnel applications;
The potential for a federal minimum wage increase.
4. Privacy and data security
This area could present new and convoluted recordkeeping challenges for small business, as the United States and other nations mull new laws to safeguard personal information. Says Paychex: “At the heart of the respective pieces of legislation being crafted on this issue is how the information is collected and used.” Might want to increase your bookkeeper’s hours.
Also read: Big Brother will arrive by 2022 with employee blessing
Issues related to retirement that seem likely to surface, including:
New debates over fiduciary responsibility;
More attention focusing on the Social Security “crisis;”
Possible legislative responses to the quantified lack of adequate retirement savings for many Americans.