Regardless of your vote, now that Joe Biden is in the nation’s highest office, it could have an impact on your role as an HR professional. So, what can you expect to see in the next four years under the Biden Administration? Here’s a look at how it might affect you:
Biden has made it clear he is committed to restoring stability to the economy. This will be a challenge as it looks like 2021 will be yet another unpredictable year thanks to the pandemic. It will continue to impact medical, social, economic, and political factors. Therefore, issues addressed when restoring economic stability will focus on HR-relevant items such as:
- Healthcare and retirement
- Income taxes on corporations and higher-income taxpayers
- Supporting paid family, medical and sick leave
- Potential increase in the federal minimum wage
All of these factors are directly related to HR, with major changes expected to be felt when it comes to payroll, benefits, and tax structures. This means you’ll need to ramp up your skills and your department’s ability to adapt to what could be quick moving changes through potential executive orders.
The Employee-Friendly Government
Biden’s administration also promises to be more of an employee-friendly legislation, focusing on the people working within large corporations as opposed to meeting the demands of the corporations themselves. Of course, this will be felt in organizations of all sizes, beginning with a broad sweeping introduction of a federal increase to minimum wage.
With a $15 per hour target, President Biden is not necessarily proposing this hourly wage must be reached all at once. Therefore HR departments must be posed to come up with payroll plans that can adjust on a new pay scale over an allotted amount of time. This means exploring easier payroll administration methods such as adaptable, scalable payroll software.
Paycheck Fairness Act
Among the items next on the Biden Administration’s list is showing fair pay for like work. This could mean your department investigating any disparities in pay between men and women, as well as across factors such as race or sexual orientation. Although this type of proposal has been in the works for years, these issues could be moved to the forefront with a President strongly supporting the idea of the Paycheck Fairness Act. What changes can you make in your organization’s work environment to ensure these disparities don’t exist?
No doubt the pandemic has put a focus on the challenges of paid leave and how it impacts families. President Biden believes in paid family and medical leave looking at supporting the FAMILY Act. The Act focuses on providing workers two-thirds of their salary with a cap, for up to 12 weeks of qualifying leave. And it goes one step further with the Healthy Families Act, which would entitle employees the right to earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
This would provide them with up to seven paid sick days per year. In this case, HR professionals need to have a system in place that allows them to adapt to staff shortage situations, with a way to reach out to other workers to fill empty shifts. This is especially crucial in the service and health industries or industries dependent on quotas or safety requirements such as manufacturing or construction.
Overtime and Contract Worker Protection
Biden has also said he would ensure that workers receive overtime protections to which they are entitled. Time tracking becomes extremely important in this case. The President also wants to explore issues such as using broad definitions for terms such as “joint employment” so many organizations might have to look at potential situations where they have misclassified workers as independent contractors.
Healthcare and Retirement
Public health and economic policies over the first year will be heavily focused on:
- Pandemic relief
- Expanded testing
- Vaccine distribution
- Support to state and local governments
- Business supports, especially small businesses
However, it will also go beyond 2021 and the pandemic with additions to the Affordable Care Act. This most likely will include a public option and higher-premium tax credits or rules prohibiting healthcare discrimination based on gender identity. Retirement can also be affected to help “equalize” the tax benefits for defined contribution plans. Tax incentives that work to improve sponsorships among small businesses or provide automatic 401(k) programs for those without employer-sponsored plans will ensure everyone can access a retirement savings plan. All of these things will require reviews of current retirement programs and employee status records, as well as understanding how your business might seek further assistance in light of the pandemic.
Taxes and Executives
Last but not least, proposals regarding increases to marginal tax rates, Social Security taxes and capital gains taxes could gain traction. Executive compensation won’t be the focus, but instead, changes to the regulatory front in the Securities and Exchange Commission could lead to easing restrictions on areas such as proxy advisors, proxy access and shareholder proposals. This would result in an increase in shareholder influence over the operations of corporations.
About The Author
Ingrid is the Content Marketing Manager at Paypro, managing both inbound and outbound marketing initiatives for the company. She has 15+ years’ of extensive marketing communications experience, leveraging brand awareness and strategic partnerships to increase sales revenue for a diverse group of B2B brands.