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 “4 Wage and Hour Developments to Watch in 2021,” by Mike LaSusa. (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
Big changes are on the horizon for wage and hour laws and regulations in 2021, including looming minimum wage increases across the country and a presidential transition that will likely upend many key aspects of the outgoing administration’s employer-friendly agenda.
Here, Law360 takes a look at four big developments to watch in wage and hour regulation, legislation and appointments this year.
Trump-Era Regs on Chopping Block
President-elect Joe Biden has promised an about-face from the direction President Donald Trump has taken with respect to worker’s rights, and experts told Law360 they see several wage and hour regulations that are ripe for a reversal.
One of those is a proposed U.S. Department of Labor rule that would make it easier for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. Independent contractors aren’t entitled to many legal protections and benefits that are mandated for employees, like minimum wage and overtime pay, paid sick time and family leave and the right to unionize.
The Trump administration is likely trying to get the independent contractor rule finalized before Inauguration Day, but it may still wind up in the dustbin, said Paul DeCamp, a partner at employer-side firm Epstein Becker Green who served as administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division under former President George W. Bush.
“If it faces challenges in the courts, will a Biden administration Department of Labor defend the rule? How vigorously would it defend it?” DeCamp said. …
Minimum Wage on the Rise
Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour from the current level of $7.25 has become a rallying cry for many Democrats, including Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. But experts told Law360 that such a large increase is unlikely, at least in the near term.
DeCamp, the former WHD administrator, said that even if Democrats win both seats in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections Tuesday, Biden will still face stiff resistance from Republicans in the upper chamber.
“Unless we see the elimination of the legislative filibuster, I think it would be tough for a Biden administration to enact significant statutory change,” he said.
Still, 24 of the 50 United States will see minimum wage increases in 2021, according to a Law360 tally. …
Remote Work Raises New Issues
With more employers adopting telecommuting in response to COVID-19 safety concerns, experts expect the coming year could bring new legislation and regulations aimed at dealing with increasingly prevalent issues tied to telecommuting.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the DOL has issued guidance on remote work issues, including how to handle requests for time off because of possible exposure to the virus and how to keep track of time worked. …
Although many fundamental wage and hour laws will likely remain largely unchanged, applying them to remote work situations can be a challenge for some employers, DeCamp told Law360.
“If we see violations arising, they’re most likely going to be occurring in the context of businesses that really hadn’t dealt with remote work before and therefore didn’t necessarily have the whole process thought out,” he said.