While his first 100 days as President have been quieter than other Presidents, it doesn’t mean that President Biden has not been active in pursuing big changes for the country. In his first address to Congress, President Biden announced several plans that will impact employers across the country. Here are some of the things we’ll be tracking as the year progresses:
Paid Sick Leave
As if monitoring the movement in the state of Minnesota’s plans to provide paid sick leave to all workers wasn’t enough, President Biden announced plans to provide every employee with up to seven days of paid sick leave per year if they work for employers with more than 15 employees in the U.S. Employees would earn one hour of sick time for every thirty hours worked. Employers who already provide paid sick time consistent with the Healthy Families Act would not be required to provide any additional paid leave. Obviously as a federal law, this law would trump both state and local laws that require employers to provide paid sick leave, but employers would be required to adhere to the law that provided the greatest benefit to employees.
The plan would also provide seven days of unpaid leave for employees of small employers, and allow those employers to pay employees for that time if they so choose.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
Under the American Families Plan, employees would receive partial wage replacement for time taken following the birth of a child, recover from their own serious illnesses, care for relatives, work through the military deployment of a spouse, or take time to deal with the death of a relative. This would be a federally-funded, paid Family and Medical Leave, that would provide up to $4,000.00 a month to employees, with up to an 80% wage replacement for low-wage workers. This program would be phased in over a period of 10 years.
Push to Unionize America
On Monday, President Biden signed an executive order creating a task force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, which will be “dedicated to mobilizing the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers.” The task force will look at making changes to the regulatory and statutory frameworks for collective bargaining laws and suggest changes to increase worker organizing. The task force will seek to minimize “challenges to worker organizing in jurisdictions with restrictive labor laws” and increase the unionized workforce nationwide.
This is an incredibly aggressive stance taken by the President in supporting workers across the country. While all these plans have a long way to go before they become law, they would have a significant impact on employers. We will keep an eye on all legislative developments at both the state and federal levels to make sure you have the most up-to-date information you need to operate your organization effectively and conform with the new laws to come. If you, or your organization need assistance in keeping up with the ever-changing environment of employment and labor law, contact the Wiley Law Office, for legal advice that works.