WPI Labor Day Report 2019

Labor Day became an official federal holiday in 1894. Although the world of employment has obviously changed significantly over the last 125 years, the pace of workplace transformation seems to have accelerated in the past decade.

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace is forcing employers to reevaluate how they hire and do business. In some offices, biometric scanners have replaced time clocks, and cobots are the new coworkers. Meanwhile, the applicant pool of skilled U.S. workers is struggling to meet its demand, while U.S. immigration policy has made it more challenging for employers to hire qualified labor from abroad. At the same time, multi-state employers must contend with a patchwork of state and local employment law obligations, while keeping up with ever-changing federal regulations.

On the employee side of the equation, members of tech-savvy Generation Z are starting to enter the workforce, bringing with them an increased desire for workplace flexibility, diversity, and training opportunities. Yet a large portion of the labor force is working past retirement age; many in this cohort consider more traditional benefits—health care in particular—a priority.

This Labor Day Report is designed to update employers on notable employment trends, highlight key labor and employment developments over the past year, and provide some insight on what to expect in the year ahead.

Part I of this Report provides an overview of the state of work in the United States. An understanding of who is working/not working, where the jobs are, which industries are seeing job growth, and the changing nature of work, sets the stage for the discussion in Part II, which focuses on federal and state developments affecting the workplace.

Part II discusses key labor and employment developments at the federal and state levels. This section includes overviews of the top five policy changes involving labor, wage and hour, equal employment opportunity and discrimination, federal contracting, benefits, health and safety, and immigration law. This section also touches on the growing number of state and local regulations.

We hope employers find this Report useful as they look ahead to 2020 and beyond.

Click here to read the full WPI Report.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.