How The Incoming, Pro-Labor Biden Administration May Change The American Workplace
The election of Joe Biden may bring numerous direct policy changes to commercial real estate. But the former vice president’s victory may also bring changes to labor laws and labor enforcement that will impact the industry. Here are some of the most important and potentially impactful policy changes and actions the forthcoming Biden-Harris administration may bring to the workplace.
Encouraging Diversity Initiatives
Biden may overturn President Donald Trump's Sept. 22 Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, which ordered that all federal contractors cease from teaching “divisive concepts” such as “critical race theory” and “white privilege,” which may be part of company diversity training programs and initiatives.
Data To Help Close The Pay Gap
A Biden administration would likely reinstate the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's pay-data reporting requirements, a second-term Obama initiative to report pay data on gender, race and other factors quickly overturned by Trump.
Improving Child Care And Family Leave
Biden included a provision for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers in his platform. Currently, emergency paid leave options in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act are set to expire at the end of December. If Democrats win the Georgia runoff elections, there may be quick movement toward passing legislation on paid leave.
Biden has also proposed funding to help child care centers stay open later, and to incentivize companies to build and operate their own on-site child care.
Helping Make Unionization Easier
Even without Senate control, a Biden administration can, via the National Labor Relations Board, make it easier for employees to organize unions.
Changing Safety Regulations During COVID
In addition, Biden has appointed a Department of Labor agency review team, helmed by Obama's deputy secretary of labor, Chris Lu, tasked with evaluating the performance of the Trump-era DOL. Labor-rights attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan told Forbes that “their work could help make Joe Biden the most pro-labor President in our lifetimes.” For instance, while much of the team’s role will be focused on the transition and coordination, it may also make recommendations to fill in blanks left by Biden’s predecessor. For instance, key Occupational Safety and Health Administration roles are unfilled, and key decisions about workplace safety requirements during the COVID era haven’t been made. Biden has previously spoken about focusing on workplace precautions and providing a restart package to help small businesses pay for protective gear.