In Focus: On Trump’s First Days in Office, Regulations, Federal Hiring Frozen

By Allen Smith, J.D. Jan 24, 2017
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President Donald Trump stopped new federal regulation and froze federal hiring soon after he took office.

The regulatory freeze arguably applies to the overtime rule, which a court order blocked from taking effect. The review of regulations during the regulatory freeze may affect the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's pay data requirement, which originally was scheduled to take effect in March 2018. The freeze also applies to the international entrepreneur rule, which was to have taken effect July 17, 2017, and lets foreign startup founders stay stateside temporarily.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Administration

For more information about Donald Trump's workplace policies and how they effect HR professionals, check out the SHRM resources provided below:

· SHRM's post-election coverage
· Trump's work policies · First 100 days

Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, issued a memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies on Jan. 20, postponing the effective date by 60 days for any regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but not taken effect.

The memo also directs department and agency heads to send no regulation to the Federal Register until heads designated by Trump review and approve the rule. Any regulation already sent to the Federal Register but not yet published must be immediately withdrawn.

Trump also halted hiring by the federal government with limited exceptions on Jan. 23.

Obama Instituted a Regulatory Freeze

In 2009, former President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, similarly ordered a freeze on pending regulations from former President George W. Bush's administration. Obama finished as many regulations as he could long before he left office in anticipation of such a regulatory freeze. (Politico)

Regulatory Process May Need to Start Again

To revoke regulations that took effect in Obama's presidency, either Congress needs to act or the federal agencies must start the notice-and-comment period from scratch. (CNN)

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Exception for Safety and Security Matters

Priebus' memo makes an exception for critical health, safety, financial or national security matters and asks departments to identify any rules that need immediate implementation for other reasons. (Fox 59)

Federal Hiring Frozen

Trump's executive order blocked federal hiring except for jobs in the military, public safety and public health. (The Washington Post)

Number of Federal Workers Declining

The size of the federal workforce has steadily declined over the past 50 years. Approximately 2 million people worked for civilian agencies in 2015—nearly a 10 percent decline since 1967. (Federal News Radio)

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