Today’s employees consider more factors than any previous generation when seeking a new position, reports Timothy Singhel. Issues such as healthcare coverage options and whether or not an employee wanted to be an independent contractor weren’t really questioned just a decade ago.
According to Timothy Singhel, an attorney with many years of expertise in labor and employment law, there are a number of factors that could influence a person’s decision on where and how they want to work. Take for instance the legalization of same-sex marriage. Some employers have chosen to drop healthcare coverage altogether to avoid having to provide insurance to same-sex partners. Today, a freely-out and legally married workforce of LGBT citizens must consider their company’s environment and whether or not it is hostile to private lifestyle choices, says Timothy Singhel. Although the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, a majority of states still have laws that make it easy for LGBT Americans to be denied basic civil rights and workplace equality. Even with the federal government stepping in through rulings by the EEOC making it more difficult to discriminate against employees with alternate lifestyles, workers in many states are still faced with a challenging landscape.
Another question employees tend to ask these days is whether or not they have the option of functioning as an independent contractor versus an employee. Timothy Singhel explains that many millennials might prefer independent contractor status for its perceived freedom and mobility as opposed to a salaried worker locked in to set hours at a set location and benefits they may or may not use. However, there are many legal considerations at play here, that I will not expound upon at length. In short, there have been a several recent regulations and legal interpretations issued by the federal government and several states, including in tax withholding, labor relations, wage and hour law and other areas that are re-defining and cementing the boundaries between independent contractor and employee status. Increasingly, far more is determined by the law and far less is up to individual choice.
Healthcare coverage options are another matter that baby boomers never dreamed of questioning, reports Timothy Singhel. Prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the majority of American workers either purchased health insurance from their employer or self-paid their medical expenses as needed. This isn’t an option today, says Timothy Singhel, as individuals are assessed a hefty fine if they choose to forgo healthcare insurance. Despite Supreme Court decisions upholding the tax penalty for individuals who lack coverage and the federal government’s ability to set up exchanges in the absence of state action, some states are still fighting. For example, as recently as 2014, South Carolina proposed a bill that would restrict the applicability of the Affordable Care Act for residents of the state, leaving the stability of the healthcare exchange marketplace in question.
The controversy over a high minimum wage may also play a part in how young workers commence their careers and the choices they make about their education. The idea of wage compression – that unskilled laborers may soon be able to bring home a similar paycheck to their college-educated cohorts has created a rift in many industries, says Timothy Singhel. The hope is that, by raising the floor, everyone else will see an increase in wages and standard of living. However, many argue that the result will be almost the opposite – inflation, a declining economy and a shift of more jobs overseas.
These and other issues are shaping the way America goes to work and the results are truly yet to be seen.