Andrew Puzder understands how to build an American workforce
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If confirmed, one of the many benefits of Andrew Puzder taking the reins at the U.S. Department of Labor next year is that American workers and businesses will finally see a light at the end of a more than eight-year tunnel of excess regulation.

As chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, Puzder knows firsthand the struggles faced by businesses each and every day as a result of too many rules and regulations. But, more importantly than that, he knows what must change.

For the better part of a decade, American businesses have been burdened by excessive regulation  and have been strained by expenses including fighting frivolous litigation or paying for mandated healthcare.

With Puzder at the helm of the Labor Department, the situation will improve. He will restore the agency’s role to help workers by removing unnecessary regulatory obstacles that only add costs and challenges to businesses, reduce employment and suppress wages.

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Take healthcare, for instance. Contrary to what his critics have claimed, Puzder is a proponent of employer-sponsored healthcare. He offered his employees healthcare plans well before being mandated to do so by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare.

He has loudly objected to ObamaCare as it kills jobs by overburdening and constraining employers, particularly small businesses. This is something that franchisees know all too painfully.

Obamacare requires employers to offer health insurance to those who work over 30 hours per week or face paying an up to $3,000 penalty per employee. However, because there is no obligation for employees working under 30 hours, there have been unintended consequences such as making full-time employment much more expensive and resulting in the conversion of full-time jobs to part-time jobs.

Health insurance has essentially been priced out as a benefit for many franchise businesses, despite it being something employers across industries see as valuable and want to provide for employees.

Puzder has the experience and the perspective to steer us toward a bipartisan market-based solution that would provide access to lower-cost insurance for those who need it without compromising jobs or wages.

Finally, there’s the expanded definition of joint employer by the National Labor Relations Board. I have seen how the ACA has negatively impacted franchise businesses in recent years. My experience as a franchise executive has exposed me to the very real and very direct threat the new definition of joint employer poses to the franchise business model and the thousands of local franchise business owners across the country who will effectively be demoted to middle managers instead of owning their own business.

This rule amounts to a corporate takeover of Main Street and threatens the very existence of the franchise business model in America, a model that is responsible for the creation of numerous small businesses, thousands of jobs and overall economic growth.

In addition to supporting more than 7.6 million direct jobs nationwide and contributing $674.3 billion in economic output, franchising offers opportunity. Puzder understands this, beginning with his own personal experience starting out by scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins for minimum wage.

He has a career-long appreciation for the nuances of franchise businesses, how they work and how they fuel communities across the country. And he realizes franchisors and their franchises are not joint employers, and that this designation will reduce the desire to develop new franchise units (thus slowing job creation) and a negative evolution of American small business into middle management. Puzder can reverse this and inspire modifications necessary for the U.S. economy to continue to grow.

It doesn’t stop with these two issues of course. There are countless areas of improvement thanks to the excessive regulation seen in the last eight years. But, with Andrew Puzder as Labor secretary, American workers and employers, such as franchise brand companies and local franchise owners in nearly every community, will be in a much better position to prosper in today’s economy.

Shelly Sun is a certified franchise executive and chair of the International Franchise Association’s board of directors. She is the chief executive officer and co-founder of BrightStar Care, a premium in-home healthcare and medical staffing franchise.


The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.