What Does a Biden Administration Mean For Employers?

A new presidential administration can signal many changes for employers. While litigation persists, it appears likely employers should prepare for such changes come January. Below we highlight a few potential policies and programs impacting employment law that a Biden administration is expected to pursue.  

Stimulate economic recovery and combat COVID-19

According to the Biden-Harris Plan to Rescue and Revitalize Main Street, the incoming administration will provide small businesses with a “restart package” to survive the current crisis, as well as launch an ongoing initiative to strengthen these businesses. This Plan includes more than two dozen policies to help small businesses access capital, expand procurement opportunities, and level the playing field for all small businesses, among other things.

The President-elect further believes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) needs an overhaul to guarantee relief to all qualifying businesses.

Many anticipate that the new administration will also take a more aggressive federal approach to combat COVID-19 which could ease compliance for multistate employers.

Increase the minimum wage and end pay discrimination

According to the Biden Plan, the new administration will seek to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $15/hour. Moreover, President-elect Biden indicates he will take steps to ensure workers of color are compensated fairly and to end gender-based pay discrimination, including through support of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Guarantee paid leave         

President-elect Biden supports the FAMILY Act and the Healthy Families Act which provide paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave to workers, respectively.

Address discrimination and harassment in the workplace

It’s likely that President-elect Biden will rescind President Trump’s Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping that provides that government contractors cannot use any workplace training “that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex-stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.”

President-elect Biden also supports the Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination in the Workplace (BE HEARD) Act, which addresses harassment and discrimination through a number of measures, including a requirement that most businesses have anti-harassment policies and training.

Strengthen the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

President-elect Biden indicates he will double funding to the EEOC, empower the agency to initiate investigations for all areas of discrimination under its purview, and expand the agency’s information collection efforts (including EEO-1 component 2 data).

Naturally, many of these initiatives require legislative action or otherwise take time and bi-partisan support. While it is difficult to predict which policies will be pursued in which order and which will actually be successful, these are a few to keep an eye on.

This blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.