Potential Election Impacts on Business Regulation

Part 2 - Potential Election Impacts on Business Regulation

by Amie Remington, Esq., on December 18, 2020
What will a change in the Presidential administration mean to employers?

There are many possibilities but based on what we've seen from other changes in command, the hot topics of the election, and the new administration's stated goals, we can make some educated predictions about what the next four years could mean for businesses.

On Dec. 2, LandrumHR hosted a webinar exploring topics of concern for employers and suggesting some of the changes that could be in the pipeline. Here are some of the presentation highlights.

OSHA – During his campaign, President-Elect Biden made it very clear that employee safety is a top priority. We expect the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be very proactive very quickly. For the last four years, OSHA enforcement has been at a historic low. Under the Biden administration, the number of worksite inspections is very likely going to increase substantially. A new administration will probably mean more penalties and citations on a more frequent basis. That means now is the time to talk to your HR and safety people to ensure you are in compliance. Do a thorough audit to ensure that you are OSHA compliant.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – The NRLB has jurisdiction over almost every employer, whether they have a union or not. Given Biden's clean energy sector goals, which will likely demand an increase in manufacturing, chances are organized labor will increase.

During the Obama administration, there was a lot of discussion about the Employee Free Choice Act.  If passed, this Act would have made it easier for employees to unionize via expedited elections and replacing secret ballots with a card check. Chances are, the act will be dusted off and come back in some form in the next two years. If you have a non-union workforce and want to remain union-free, now is the time for you to step up and be the best employer you can be to keep your employees happy.

Federal minimum wage - Another hot topic is the potential for an increase in the federal minimum wage. While there is a lot of talk about an increase to $15 per hour, that may be a long shot on the national level. Chances are Congress will settle on a number somewhere between the current hourly minimum wage, $7.25, and the proposed $15. Some states, including Florida, have voted to increase the minimum wage at the state level in increments over the next few years.

Wage and Hour – Employers should expect renewed interest in the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to discrimination victims in the payment of wages based on sex for other purposes on a federal level. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will likely be looking more closely at pay disparity and hiring practices. Some states are already moving forward. For example, Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act takes effect on January 1.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) – While this was a big topic during the election, when you drill down, ACA issues are Supreme Court issues rather than election issues. The president cannot unilaterally change the ACA. There is currently a case before the Supreme Court debating the ACA's constitutionality considering there is no longer a penalty for not having health insurance. We do not anticipate a decision on that case until spring 2021.

Paid leave expansion – The pandemic disproportionately affected women. Between 800,000 and one million women left the workforce entirely to care for children. About four times as many women as men left the workforce. President-Elect Biden favors some type of leave for all workers with certain employment qualifications. The expansion may not end up being a full 12 weeks, but instead a lesser compromise. But this is another issue that would require action by Congress.

Consumer privacy law – Consumer privacy is a huge topic globally, not just in the US. Europe has GDPR, which protects privacy on the internet with strict standards for collecting, using, and deleting personal information. In the US, we don't have a federal standard yet but there is bipartisan support for the idea that consumer information should be safe, which could mean considering how we protect consumer information in the near future.

You can get the details on these topics and more by watching the "Potential Election Impacts on Business Regulation" webinar, now available on-demand. Check in and follow LandrumHR on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. to keep up to date on upcoming events and other employment news and resources.
Amie Remington, Esq.

As General Counsel of LandrumHR, Amie advises on all business and employment-related legal issues. She is also a regular speaker at national and state-wide events, discussing all aspects of employment law that affect all employers, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the state counterparts to these laws. Before joining LandrumHR, Amie was a partner in the law firm of Bozeman, Jenkins & Matthews, P.A., where she represented employers, management and the State of Florida in all types of employment-related matters. At the firm, Amie focused on policy creation, prevention of discrimination and harassment and management education and training, as well as all aspects of employment litigation, including trial and appeal work.

View more blogs by Amie Remington, Esq.