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November 30, 2020

How Will A Biden Administration Impact Employment And Labor Policy?

Connecting the Dots looked at this question shortly after Election Day 2020, but the employment and labor experts at Kelley Drye provided more information last week.

Among the law firm’s predictions are that a Biden-Harris administration will:

  • Quickly issue national workplace safety rules for employers to follow to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19.
  • Expand the additional $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits, which expired in July 2020, for workers impacted by the pandemic.
  • Expand family leave and emergency paid sick leave, which expires on December 31, 2020, by making these benefits available to both employees and part-time workers, gig workers, and independent contractors.
  • Support 12 weeks of paid leave for all workers to care for their newborns, newly adopted or fostered children, for their own or a family member’s serious health condition, or to care for injured service members or deal with “qualifying exigencies arising from the deployment” of a family member in the Armed Services.
  • Ramp up enforcement actions designed to root out companies’ independent contractor misclassifications.
  • Place individuals on the National Labor Relations Board who are likely to overrule many Trump administration precedents and who will revive Obama-era rules expediting union elections, requiring contractors to agree to be neutral with respect to union organizing, and impose a version of the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” order.
  • Reinstate an Obama-era rule requiring employers to publicly disclose occupational illnesses and injuries at their workplaces.
  • Resurrect pay parity standards for federal contractors and an Obama-era requirement that pay data be disclosed by employers on EEO-1 reports.
  • Aggressively enforce wage discrimination by federal contractors.
  • Support legislation to prohibit employers from requiring employees to sign pre-dispute arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.
  • Make it easier for businesses to use immigration to strengthen their businesses.
  • Support a $15 federal minimum wage and an increase in the minimum salary to qualify as an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Rescind President Donald Trump’s executive order that directed federal contractors to refrain from conducting diversity and inclusion training.

When it comes to what could happen in Congress, the law firm notes that outcome will be largely influenced by the results of the two U.S. Senate seat runoffs in Georgia. Kelley-Drye analysts said, “If Republicans keep control of the Senate, employers should expect more gridlock in Washington,” which “may well result in the exact reaction some state legislatures had to Trump: more progressive employment legislation at the state and local levels.”

Click here for Kelley Drye’s full analysis.