Democrats and Republicans in Washington DC agree that it’s impossible to predict HR-related legislation and regulations for 2014 — a battleground “mid-term” election year.

Since Democrats control the White House and the Senate, and Republicans control the House of Representatives, gridlock becomes the New Year’s default option.

reading-the-tea-leaves-2.jpgWith 21st Century forecasting models unhelpful in politics, this blog turns to a 19th Century alternative: tea leaves. According to Wikipedia, the Dutch introduced into the British Isles a belief that the future could be predicted by “reading” the tea leaf residue in cups. Therefore, over the next month or so we’ll look at the tea leaves to forecast what’s likely to happen in 2014 on five key HR-related issues:

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Predicting 2014 Human Resources Policy: Reading the Tea Leaves

Thu Jan 2, 2014

Democrats and Republicans in Washington DC agree that it’s impossible to predict HR-related legislation and regulations for 2014 — a battleground “mid-term” election year.

Since Democrats control the White House and the Senate, and Republicans control the House of Representatives, gridlock becomes the New Year’s default option.

reading-the-tea-leaves-2.jpgWith 21st Century forecasting models unhelpful in politics, this blog turns to a 19th Century alternative: tea leaves. According to Wikipedia, the Dutch introduced into the British Isles a belief that the future could be predicted by “reading” the tea leaf residue in cups. Therefore, over the next month or so we’ll look at the tea leaves to forecast what’s likely to happen in 2014 on five key HR-related issues:

  • The Affordable Care Act: The Obama Administration says that as of January 1 over 1 million people have enrolled in the federal health insurance exchange and another 1 million in various state exchanges. What does 2014 hold for ACA? Will it be repealed? What about the employer “play or pay” mandate now set for 2015?
  • Immigration Reform: The Senate in 2013 approved a comprehensive bill that offers a “pathway to citizenship” for some 12 million illegal immigrants. What will the Republican-controlled House do? Will comprehensive immigration reform become law?
  • Tax Reform: Behind the scenes an effort is underway on Capitol Hill to reform America’s labyrinthine tax code—to reduce income tax rates and close loopholes. Does this initiative have a chance? How might it affect retirement benefits like pre-tax saving in 401(k)-type plans?
  • Social Security Restructuring:  Social Security is running a cash flow deficit—annual payroll tax revenues have fallen short of annual benefit payments since 2010. Will Congress and the White House agree on a package of benefit and revenue changes to shore up the trust fund? How might this affect employer payroll taxes?
  • Mandatory Paid Family & Medical Leave: Rhode Island, California and New Jersey have enacted legislation to require employers to provide paid family and medical leave to their employees. Similar legislation has now been introduced in the US Senate and House that would apply nationwide. What are the pros and cons of paid FMLA? Will it become law in 2014?

Finally, while it’s not human resources policy per se, President Obama has focused attention on “income inequality,” in particular the 20-year+ stagnation of median wages that has squeezed the middle class. Apart from spurring economic growth, however, specific legislative solutions remain elusive, with the White House pushing an increase in the federal minimum wage. This blog will look at income inequality and forecast possible legislative scenarios.

Stay tuned to Ceridian’s website as we try to decipher what the tea leaves “tell” us about 2014 Human Resources Policy.