How the Inauguration Could Affect Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By Rebecca Batisto

How the Inauguration Could Affect Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Elections are a mandate for change, with politicians voted in largely based on the promises they make to their supporters. So, when a new president is sworn in, you can expect them to make sweeping changes from day one.

With the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden just a week away, employers are already looking ahead to ponder labor and employment law changes. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it is crucial that employers adequately prepare for possible changes in government policy. After rereading the Democratic Party’s election platform, here are the labor and employment policies that you should consider in the near future.

Immediate Changes on Inauguration Day

The new president is expected to assume office on January 20th, 2021. Almost immediately, we expect him to repeal several polarizing executive orders. Immigration-related executive orders, including those concerning refugees, asylum seekers, and certain COVID-19-related restrictions, are expected to be rescinded. There are also talks of executive orders on diversity and inclusion training being rescinded on the first afternoon. If you don’t yet know how these rapid changes could affect your staff and business or need help preparing for this change, get in touch with our insurance agents by calling 866-688-6442 or emailing info@normandyins.com.

Turning to COVID-19 guidelines and legislation, it’s highly likely that the new president will sign off on sweeping measures that will affect your workplace. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) previously addressed the pandemic’s impact on the workplace with non-binding guidelines in 2020. We believe the next administration’s OSHA will take a different approach and implement a binding emergency temporary standard (ETS) in the week following the inauguration. Whereas OSHA’s guidelines under the previous administration were seen as a one-size-fits-all standard, the next proposal may be tailored to specific industries and scenarios.

Again, it’s worth checking back with us after inauguration day to see how these changes may impact you and your business.

Many believe that further employment policies will be repealed and replaced beyond an ETS. Once new nominees at the Department of Labor (DOL) are sworn in, we expect them to quickly change many previous administration’s regulations. It’s predicted that the Department of Labor (DOL) will amend regulations on joint employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as potential changes to overtime standards. A Democratic majority in the National Labor Relations Board may also enforce sweeping changes. If you’re unsure how this will affect you, give our team a call.

Potential New Workers’ Comp Laws

While many of the above changes can be reversed relatively quickly, some policies that the new administration is hoping for will need to pass through the Senate to become law.

Bills like the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and an increase in the national minimum wage are likely to be blocked. However, a shift in the political climate could increase the popularity of the PRO Act among senators. Employers should be aware of these potential changes.

According to Senior Government Relations Counsel James Plunkett, “If the PRO Act becomes law, it will be the most significant labor legislation since the Wagner Act in 1935.” Among other changes, he argues the PRO Act would:

• Require binding arbitration for first contracts. • Overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems, essentially prohibiting arbitration agreements. • Prohibit employers from permanently replacing strikers while also allowing secondary boycotts. • Resuscitate and codify National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions concerning joint employer, gerrymandered bargaining units, and employee email access. • Codify the “ambush” elections, persuader, and notice posting regulations. • Prohibit right-to-work laws. • Create a private cause of action for unfair labor practices (ULPs). • Allow for new civil penalties, including liquidated damages. • Codify California’s A.B. 5 regarding independent contractors.

At Normandy Insurance, our mission is to provide workers’ compensation insurance with ease and convenience. We are committed to being recognized as the premier provider of innovative, cost-effective workers’ compensation solutions for businesses located in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

We strive to serve our small business clients by lowering the costs of claims and preventing injuries. With a keen understanding of small business challenges, Normandy Insurance pays dedicated attention to providing cost-effective and professional claims management services.

If you have any questions about Workers’ Compensation or any potential changes in regulations to come in the next two years, please get in touch! Call us at 866-688-6442 or email at info@normandyins.com.

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