30 Days into Trump’s Tax Reform: What’s the Verdict?

Employment trends expert discusses the stats

Tax ReformIt’s a month since President Trump’s tax reform went into effect. So how have these changes impacted the average American worker?

“One thing for sure is that the market loves it,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert. “We hit the 26,000 mark for the first-time ever, and it’s also the first time we have ever seen such a fast 1,000 point rise.”

Wilson also points out that companies like Walmart, Disney, Starbucks, Apple and Verizon have already rolled out bonuses, raises and other incentives to their employees. However, some lawmakers don’t see the value of these bonuses, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who scoffed at these “crumbs.”

“When you look at someone working at Walmart who is making $10 an hour or $20,000 a year, a $1,000 check is far from peanuts. It’s a 5 to 10 percent bonus,” says Wilson, who also points out that Walmart is increasing their wages from $13.85 to $14.50. “These wages will no doubt be matched by other companies like McDonalds among others as they try to stay desirable in the hiring market.”

The tax law is having other important changes on the economy.

“Apple has more offshore earnings than any other U.S. company, but now, as a direct result of President Trump’s tax reform, they are going to pay repatriation tax payments of approximately $38 billion to bring that money back home. They are also going to spend tens of billions on domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centers in the future,” says Wilson.

Also, starting in 2019, individual people will not be penalized for not having insurance. “The employer mandate for those companies with over 50 full-time employees is still in place, however, this removes the burden from the average American who does not want to be forced into buying costly insurance that they don’t need.”

“The bottom line is the tax plan is working,” says Wilson. “Middle America is directly benefiting from the tax reform, and I expect that unemployment and underemployment numbers will continue to decrease.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

What Employers Need to Know About 2018 Marijuana Laws

H.R. expert explains what companies need to know about employees’ marijuana use  

Governor Scott just signed a bill making it legal to smoke marijuana recreationally in the state of Vermont. They join 8 states along with the District of Columbia which have adopted laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Many other states allow marijuana use in some form such as for medical purposes.

However, this raises a complicated issue for employers who want to regulate marijuana use around the workplace, without infringing on employees’ rights. How should employers proceed in 2018 in regards to the use of marijuana and marijuana intoxication on company grounds?

Rob Wilson, human resources and employment expert and President of Employco USA, says, “The federal government still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, which is the same class as heroin and ecstasy,” he says. “However, since many states now permit the use of marijuana, either medically or recreationally, this leads to very murky waters for employers, especially as some states prohibit the discrimination of employees with a medical marijuana card, while other states do not.”

So, what should an employer do to navigate this issue?

First, Wilson advises employers to get familiar with their state’s specific legislation. He also says, “If your employees are part of a collective bargaining unit, then it is likely that drug stipulations already exist, including specific limits for drug use. For example, in a recent case, an employee was found to be under the influence while on the job, but he claimed his medical marijuana card gave him permission to use while working. However, a drug test revealed that he was 10 times above his prescribed limit.”

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Crain’s List of Chicago’s Largest Employers

Crain’s Chicago Business recently released its list of “Chicago’s Largest Employers”, ranked by full-time local employees as of 12/31/17.

Employco USA took the 25th spot – among other local giants, such as: Amazon, Chase, and Wal-Mart. Employco rose 2.9% from its 2016 count, with 7,657 full-time local employees.

Crain's 2017

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

How to “ICE-Proof” Your Business

Employment expert explains how businesses can stay on the right side of immigration law

Last week, immigration officials descended on almost 100 7-Eleven stores in 17 states. They carried notices requiring owners of these establishments to produce hiring records for their employees within 3 days.

“These employment audits are part of President Donald Trump’s commitment to changing the face of immigration policy in this country,” says Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA. “Businesses need to realize that this administration is taking immigration records very seriously, and if they fail to produce the proper paperwork when questioned, they could face fines or even criminal charges.”

Wilson says that states like California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas should be on special alert, as it is known that these are the states with the highest number of undocumented workers.

“President Trump is going to start by cracking down in places that are known to have a history of undocumented workers,” says Wilson. “And, he’s going to be tough on employers. Unlike past administrations which focused more on the workers themselves, Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, promises a significant increase on work-site raids and he says that they will prosecute those who knowingly hire undocumented workers.”

The employment trends expert says that there are several things companies need to do in order to ensure that their businesses are “ICE-proof”:

  1. The most important step is to ensure that Forms I-9 are properly created when a worker is first hired. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and ability of people to work in the United States. Staff should receive training to learn how to legally complete the form, inspect the person’s documents (e.g., driver’s license), and answer employee questions.
  2. Employers should also periodically coordinate Form I-9 self-audits to be conducted by a neutral and knowledgeable employee or vendor who is not part of the regular process. These audits will surface deficiencies with the actual Forms I-9 or the process itself.  If problems are discovered, the staff may need additional training.
  3. To complete the preparation, companies should also create inspection and raid day plans. Everyone from the receptionist to the HR personnel to the CEO should be ready for possible scenarios where ICE presents a criminal search warrant, administrative arrest warrant, or inspection notice. In some circumstances, the company can deny ICE immediate access to their private property and Forms I-9.

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Big Business Backs Trump Tax Cuts with Bonus Payouts

The Washington Times

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, was recently mentioned in an article from The Washington Times. Read below for an excerpt from the full article, Big business backs Trump tax cuts with bonus payouts.

“After years of stagnant wage growth, many in the private sector say the tax cuts have provided a boost for middle-class workers even before the expected relief starts showing up in their paychecks next month.

“It’s a big win not just for businesses but for employees, and not just employees at big companies,” said Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA, a human-resources firm in Westmont, Illinois. “Bonuses like that for people who don’t typically get bonuses, that could be 3 percent [of their salary]. Across the board, we’ve seen many companies increase bonuses.”

He said the employment situation and wages this year should continue to improve, and that the bonuses are also a sign of companies trying to hold onto workers in a tightening labor market. He said surveys are showing that about two-thirds of employees will be looking for better jobs this year, with companies adding better benefits.

“It’s businesses trying to remain competitive,” Mr. Wilson said. “It does have a ripple effect for other businesses, not just wages but benefits. How can you attract and retain employees?”

With the unemployment rate already at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the improving job market also will provide more opportunities for people who had left the workforce permanently.

“One of the things that really has been ignored but was a big issue under the Obama administration was the ‘underemployed’ and the ‘unreported,’” Mr. Wilson said. “There’s now incentive for the underemployed to get back into their original careers. For those people who were not working, there’s an opportunity to get back out in the workforce.”

The workforce participation rate, a measure of how many people dropped out of the workforce altogether, has ranged between 62.5 percent to 63 percent during the last few years of the Obama administration. It hadn’t been so low since the 1970s.”

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How Pres. Trump’s Tax Cuts Led to Wage Hikes for Walmart Employees

Employment trends expert explains why the tax cuts benefited more than just the uber-rich

President Trump’s tax cuts were heavily criticized by Democrats who feared they were merely cuts for the wealthy, but recent decisions by mega-employer Walmart could prove otherwise.

“Changing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% might seem like it’s only a benefit for those in the higher-income bracket, but Walmart has just announced that one million employees are going to receive a new hourly rate as a direct result of the tax break,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert.

Wilson also says that full-time and part-time employees will also receive a one-time cash bonus based on their years of service, noting, “Employees who have been with the company for over 20 years are going to be treated to a $1,000 bonus.”

The average pay increase for hourly workers will go from $13.85 to $14.50, and Wilson says that employees will not be the only ones who benefit from Pres. Trump’s tax plan.

“Customers will likely see lower costs as a result, as well as a higher standard of customer care. Staff will receive better training and see better incentives as a reward for performance,” says Wilson.

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

Oregonians Can Now Pump their Own Gas, But is that a Bad Idea?

What the recent self-service debate in Oregon reveals about the future of American employment

The state of Oregon recently made headlines when it changed a decades-old law which prevented self-service gas stations. Now, Oregonians will have the option to pump their own gasoline, provided they live in a county with less than 40,000 people. However, it has left many people questioning the role of “make-work” jobs in this economy, and whether the country is going to suffer from the impact of these small but crucial decisions.

“Most Americans pump their own gas, as New Jersey is now the only state which is strictly anti self-service stations,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and job trends expert. “However, this issue is about so much more than getting out of the car to pump your own gas. It’s about whether we are phasing out certain jobs faster than we can replace them, and what’s going to happen to unskilled laborers and those without job experience and education.”

Wilson says the phasing out of full-service stations in Oregon is similar to other industries such as fast-food and data collection and processing., which are predicted to lose 375 million jobs to automation by 2030. “It’s certain that many employees in Oregon service stations could be facing termination or a reduction in hours, provided that Oregonians are willing to pump their own gas in exchange for lower prices. The question is whether we are going to be making jobs for these unskilled laborers or those with little education and experience in order to make up for the jobs we are taking away from them.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Biggest Mistake Job-Seekers Will Make in 2018

Employment solutions expert explains how Americans are missing out on employment opportunities

Millions of Americans made a resolution to find a new job in 2018. And, with the job market on the upswing, now is a great time to begin a job search in earnest. However, many Americans could be going about their hunt the wrong way…by looking online for positions. In fact, it is estimated that 80 percent of jobs are not posted on jobs boards like Monster and CareerBuilder.

“Known as the ‘hidden jobs’ market, these positions are often more lucrative, and they often involve less competition,” says Rob Wilson, employment expert and President of Employco USA, a nationwide employment solutions firm. “If you want access to these job opportunities, you have to have connections. You can’t just hop onto Craigslist and see the job posting.”

So how does Wilson suggest that job-seekers find these desirable jobs in 2018?

“There is no replacement for in-person connections,” says Wilson. “Yet networking events can often be a bust, as most people at these events will be job-seekers such as yourself. This doesn’t mean that this won’t be valuable and a good way for you to brush up on your speaking skills, but really, the people who hire folks aren’t going to be at a networking event on a Thursday night.”

To that end, Wilson believes that the real power of networking lies in temp agencies and part-time positions. “You need to get in the door. You need to get out of the hotel lobby networking over a plastic cup of red wine, and into the office where you can prove your mettle and earn those relationships day-in, day-out. Not to mention, employment solutions firms can help to ensure that you aren’t left with large gaps in your resume or your skill-set.”

Wilson also believes that temp agencies and employment firms are a boon for employers as well. “It gives you a chance to take a risk on people you wouldn’t normally go for,” he explains. “Maybe you meet someone who has very little experience, but you just have a strong feeling about their potential and work ethic. A temp position gives you the chance to test them out and to see how they respond to your company culture.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.