Trump Administration Aims to Reduce Regulatory Burden

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OVERVIEW

During his first 10 days in office, President Donald Trump took measures to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses in the United States. These measures are based on the position that fewer regulations will provide businesses with more opportunities for growth.

President Trump has issued the following directives:

  • A memorandum directing federal agencies to freeze any regulation that has not yet become effective.
  • An executive order that requires federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation they propose.

ACTION STEPS

The executive order does not require employers to take immediate action. However, employers should continue to monitor any developments that may affect their compliance with federal law in various areas, including banking, employment benefits, health, environmental protection, transportation and workplace safety.

The Memorandum

The memorandum (memo) directs federal agencies to place a freeze on any rule, guidance or regulation that has not yet become effective as of Jan. 20, 2017. Specifically, the memo asks federal agencies to:

  • Refrain from sending to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) any regulation that has not been reviewed by a newly appointed department or agency head;
  • Withdraw any regulations sent to the OFR if they have not yet been published; and
  • Postpone for 60 days the effective date of any regulations that have been published by the OFR but have not yet become effective.

An exemption from this directive applies to any emergency situation and other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial or national security matters. However, state agencies are required to notify the OMB director (Director) of any regulations that, in their view, should be exempt from this directive. The notification must also include the agency’s explanation for why an exemption should be allowed.

The Executive Order

As mentioned above, the executive order requires federal agencies to identify two regulations for elimination for every regulation they propose to implement. However, the order allows for an exemption for any regulation that is related to military, national security and foreign affairs as well as regulations regarding agency organization, management and personnel.

The order also directs federal agencies to maintain a neutral budget expenditure, meaning that federal agencies will not be allowed to exceed their budgets for the cost of proposing, adopting, implementing, enforcing or repealing any regulation. To this end, federal agencies have been directed to offset the cost of any new regulations by eliminating the costs of existing regulations.

The key person for implementation of this order is the OMB Director. The order gives the Director a great deal of discretion to authorize additional exemptions and to define key terms such as “cost.” The Director has also been charged with the responsibility to issue guidance on the processes and standards the agencies will need to follow to comply with this order.

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    The Medicare Modernization Act requires employers that provide prescription drug coverage to Medicare-eligible individuals to complete the Online Disclosure Form to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to report whether such coverage is creditable prescription drug coverage (“creditable coverage”). Creditable coverage is coverage that is expected to pay, on average, as much as the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.

    This disclosure is required annually, no later than 60 days from the beginning of a plan year—typically March 1st for calendar year plans—and at certain other times.

    Visit our section on Medicare for more information about how the law affects employer-provided group health plans.

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    Employers subject to the recordkeeping requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act are reminded to post the OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, between February 1, 2017 and April 30, 2017. The Form 300A lists the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during the previous year and must be posted even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year. It should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses occurring in the workplace.

    A company executive must certify that he or she has examined the OSHA 300 Log and that he or she reasonably believes—based on his or her knowledge of the process by which the information was recorded—that the annual summary is correct and complete.

    To read more about worker safety and health, please visit our section on Safety & Wellness.

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    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has extended the effective dates of its model Employer CHIP Notice, General Notice of COBRA Rights, and COBRA Election Notice through December 31, 2019. Previously, these model notices expired on December 31, 2016.

    No other changes have been made to these notices. For the latest guidance regarding these notices, please visit the DOL’s Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act and COBRA Continuation Coverage webpages, or contact the DOL directly at 1-866-487-2365.

    Our Benefits Notices by Company Size section features additional model notices for employers of all sizes.

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    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a final rule adjusting for inflation the civil monetary penalties assessed for violations of a number of federal labor laws. The increases generally apply to civil penalties assessed after January 13, 2017, whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

    Key Penalty Increases
    Penalty increases that may be of particular interest to employers include:

     

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    President Trump has signed an executive order calling upon federal administrative agencies to minimize the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pending repeal of the law. Until further guidance is issued or legislation is signed, however, all ACA requirements remain in effect, including penalties for noncompliance.

    In addition to making clear that the Trump administration seeks the prompt repeal of the ACA, the executive order specifically calls upon agencies to exercise authority and discretion to:

    The executive order must be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires extended review of and public comment on any federal rules which may be proposed as a result of the executive order.

    For more information on the ACA, check out our Health Care Reform section.

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