Paychex, provider of payroll, human resources, insurance and benefits outsourcing solutions, identified five issues it deemed of greatest importance to the country’s small business owners this election year.

“Even with sustained economic improvement, there’s a lot of uncertainty among small business owners when it comes to the country’s regulatory environment,” stated Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “By identifying these top five election year issues, we’re calling attention to the topics that are most likely to impact them.”

According to Paychex, the five election-year issues are:

1. The Affordable Care Act. The controversial health care reform has requirements business owners need to prepare for now, including: Employer Shared Responsibility provisions, ESR reporting requirements, the 90-day waiting period limitation, use of the orientation period within the 90-day waiting period, renewal of non-compliant plans, health insurance marketplaces, and the small business tax credit.

2. Immigration Reform. It’s widely speculated, based on President Obama’s frustration with congressional inaction, that he will use executive authority to address aspects of the Immigration Reform debate, potentially expanding amnesty through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and using prosecutorial discretion, which allows the government to prioritize the court cases it pursues.

3. Employment Regulations. Recent areas of focus for business owners include: the U.S. Department of Labor’s upcoming proposed rule impacting the number and types of employees eligible for overtime, the pending adoption of a final rule revising the definition of “spouse” in the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the potential hike in the federal minimum wage.

4. Privacy and Data Security. As the U.S. and other countries introduce and pass legislation to protect the personal information of citizens, the central issue is how the information is collected and used.

5. Retirement. Among the issues of which business owners need to be aware are debates over fiduciary responsibility, social security uncertainty, and an overall lack of adequate retirement savings for many Americans.

A Slideshare download of these issues is available here.