SURVEY: 70% Of Retailers ‘Overwhelmed’ By Regulations

By Connor D. Wolf

Federal agencies have expanded workplace regulations significantly in recent years and now 70 percent of retailers say they feel overwhelmed, according to a survey published Monday.

Employers are faced with countless regulations that dictate how their business can be run. Regulations range from workplace safety to how they are allowed to sell products and services. The regulatory burden on businesses has also grown significantly over the years.  The National Retail Federation found mostemployers feel overwhelmed by the large amount of regulations.

“Seven in 10 feel ‘overwhelmed’ by regulations, rules and mandates such as labor regulations, health care mandates, tax codes and safety guidelines,” the survey noted. “As the compliance burden grows, they worry that employees will suffer. Two-thirds of retail small business owners fear they will have to cut benefits for workers because of the increasing costs of regulatory compliance.”

The mountain of regulations has caused other problems for retailers as well. Employers feel they are forced to avert time and resources away from their primary business operations to make sure they are in compliance with the law. Additionally 66 percent say the regulations are not easy to understand.

“The spread of regulations adds a new and growing burden to their workload,” the survey continued. “A majority of retail small business owners (79%) worry about maintaining compliance with regulation, and a quarter (24%) do not believe they are even aware of all the regulations affecting their business.”

The Department of Labor (DOL), the Environmental Protection Agency and Health and Human Services all have major regulatory footprints. They also all issue regulations that impact how businesses function. The survey found retailers are most concerned about tax regulations, healthcare and workplace safety.

“Nearly three in four (73%) cited concerns about complexities in the tax code,” the survey noted. “More than half (64%) expressed concern about the Affordable Care Act and a majority (60%) cited safety and similar occupational regulations.”

Regulations come with an assortment of added costs. It requires increased paperwork, hours spent implementing and maintaining the new rule and enforcement. The costs are often very small but when added together can increase overall regulatory spending significantly.

The DOL did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.

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