Well, it’s over.

Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States effective January 20, 2021.

For employers, the last several years have been filled with several retreats from existing policies.   And over the last year in particular, the Trump administration was busy rolling out new regulations for employers to follow.  It’s not quite as predicted four years ago at this same time but not that far off either.

What’s interesting, however, is that those regulations may not be rolled back so quickly under a Biden administration.  Obviously, the proposed ones can be stopped in their tracks, but others may face a fight in Congress to get them repealed. And if the GOP holds on to the Senate, that will be a challenge.

Other firms are providing a national overview so I’m not even going to try to add that perspective. But I thought in this post, I’d touch on a few thoughts I had been thinking for employers in Connecticut and what we might see in the months ahead.

  1. FFCRA renewal.  Even before Biden takes office, it’s hard to imagine that the paid sick leave provisions of the FFCRA won’t be renewed for 2021. It’s currently set to expire at the end of the year and in the midst of ever increasing cases, this one seems like a priority during the lame duck session.  Jeff Nowak of the FMLA Insights blog did a longer summary here a few days.  For employers in Connecticut, this may end up proving tricky.  After all, Connecticut employers will start to need to comply with the PFML withholding providings in January 2021 and the paid leave itself kicks in the following January.  If you don’t have someone managing this regularly, now’s the time.
  2. Renewed input from Connecticut senators and governor — and feedback.  This may seem less obvious than first but anyone who saw President Trump’s often wildly exaggerated tweets about Senator Blumenthal knows that Connecticut has been out of favor for quite some time.  That will obviously change in a Biden administration.  That may mean more resources, and related to the pandemic, more consistency.
  3. Renewed enforcement at the DOL and EEOC.  Remember the white collar overtime regulations that were released in the closing months of the Obama administration? Maybe not since they were overturned by Congress after President Trump came into office.  While we’re unlikely to see these regulations come back soon, there is no doubt that President-Elect Biden will place a great deal of power and oversight into these federal agencies.  That in turn could trickle down to the state level as well. For example,  will there be a battle regarding so-called “gig” economy workers? Or will a compromise (like Prop 22 in California) be coming at a federal level?

There will obviously be far more analysis in the weeks and months to come.  For now, frankly, they are all dwarfed by the pandemic.  While it’s in “red alert” territory in several parts of the state, it’s raging uncontrollably in other parts of the country.  That is bound to impact state employers.  Even if progress is somehow made over the next eight weeks, I have no doubt that the pandemic will be issues number one, two and three for many months in 2021 too.