Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in Law360 Employment Authority, in “5 Wage Issues Biden Could Take On in 2024,” by Max Kutner. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Raising the federal minimum wage, tackling illegal child labor and making overtime pay available to more workers are some of the wage and hour issues attorneys and other observers expect President Joe Biden will make part of his reelection platform.

When Biden announced on April 25 he would run for reelection in 2024, he wiped his campaign website clean of his 2020 platform, which had included how he intended to address wage and hour and other issues regarding workers. …

Biden will have to weigh whether to push goals that are more realistic or ones that would energize his supporters more, said Paul DeCamp of management-side firm Epstein Becker Green, who was a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division administrator under former President George W. Bush.

When it comes to raising the minimum wage, "the number that he goes with will reflect his political judgment about whether to go for a number that is achievable or a number that is aspirational, to rally the base," for example, DeCamp said. …

Child Labor Scrutiny

One issue that wasn't a focus in 2020 but has been increasingly part of the wage and hour conversation — and potentially on voters' minds — is child labor. …

But much of the child labor debate is linked to immigration, and Biden might want to avoid the latter issue, Epstein Becker Green's DeCamp said.

"To the extent that he were to go hard on the child labor piece, I think that would potentially raise concerns about his vulnerability on the border issue," DeCamp said.

Still Trying for ABC Test

In his previous platform, Biden said he would "work with Congress to establish a federal standard modeled on the ABC test" from California.

The test, from the California Supreme Court's 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court, contains three criteria for independent contractor classification. …

As with raising the minimum wage, an ABC test is likely to come up again, even if it has little chance of succeeding, DeCamp said.

"There's no real reason for him to want to backtrack, but I think it's also clear under the current legislative environment that nothing's going to happen on that," he said.

Another Go at Arbitration

Biden in 2020 called for ending mandatory arbitration agreements in employment settings. Since he took office, Congress has addressed the issue, but not as broadly as Democrats and worker advocates would like.

In March 2022, Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. The legislation amended the Federal Arbitration Act to bar ​​employers from making workers arbitrate sexual harassment and assault claims.

But bills addressing mandatory arbitration more broadly failed to make it through the last Congress.

Those include the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, or FAIR Act, which passed the House but didn't advance in the Senate, and the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, which also passed the House but not the Senate. Another bill, the Restoring Justice for Workers Act, didn't advance.

Lawmakers have since reintroduced the PRO Act. …

Biden could choose to back either sweeping bans on mandatory arbitration or narrower carveouts to federal arbitration requirements, like the one that passed regarding sexual assault and harassment, DeCamp said.

"It's a question of which flavor of that set of issues he wants to endorse as part of his platform," DeCamp said.

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