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HR 2021: A Preview of What’s to Come for Your Practice

It's HR Tuesday!

2020 has been a challenge, to put it lightly.

The coronavirus pandemic caught us all by surprise and forced employers across the country to temporarily close, and then to find new ways of doing business.

Then there were the legislative changes. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)… This text opens a new tab to the article on FFCRA… came first, and for a moment it wasn’t clear how business owners were going to meet the demands of emergency leave payments while also making ends meet for their businesses.

Next came the CARES ACT / Paycheck Protection Program loans… This text opens a new tab to the article on the CARES Act…, which offered some financial relief for struggling business owners as well as expanded unemployment benefits… This text opens a new tab to the article on unemployment under the CARES Act… for displaced workers.

Gradually, things started looking like they might settle down and most business owners managed to find ways to keep their doors open, though some were not so fortunate.

And then came the political unrest…

Political tension

Things became politically tense… This text opens a new tab to the article on politics in the workplace… in the months and weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, and that tension naturally crept into a number of workplaces across the nation. And that divisiveness persists today, of course, even after the preliminary results of that election were announced.

But, beyond just keeping things from boiling over between employees… This text opens a new tab to the article on politics in the workplace… on opposing sides of the political aisle, the election is likely to have other impacts on your business, as well.

The outcome of a presidential election can result in sweeping changes to the types of employment laws that are passed, the way that certain laws are interpreted, as well as how — and even if — certain laws are enforced at the federal level.

Depending on whether Vice President Biden’s electoral college victory holds or President Trump succeeds in his legal challenges to the election process, your business will likely be impacted in very different ways.

Generally speaking, both administrations will have differing ideas on things like the coronavirus relief they are willing to provide, the way that the National Labor Relations Act is interpreted and enforced (whether that means more or fewer speech protections for employers), as well as the sort of new legislation they would like to see passed regarding things like the federal minimum wage and paid family leave.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself with a bit of background on what an administration under a President Biden or a second President Trump term could mean for your practice — otherwise, you risk being constantly caught by surprise whenever changes are enacted.

For more on what employment-related policies we might expect to see from either presidential candidate, you’ll find a more in depth analysis on the CEDR blog… This text opens a new tab to the article on how presidential policies could impact employees….

A workforce in crisis

Regardless of who is in charge of the Executive branch in 2021 and beyond, and regardless of the employment legislation we see enacted in the coming years, the events of 2020 themselves are likely to have a lasting impact on the American workforce.

Unemployment reached record highs this year and, as more and more small businesses started to close, a great many workers and business owners were stuck waiting for additional relief from a second round of stimulus, though that reprieve never came.

And, with many parents unable to work due to a lack of available child care options… This text opens a new tab to the article on school closures during COVID-19…, employers found themselves short staffed despite the high numbers of workers that were still unemployed or underemployed.

The result of all of this instability was a dramatic reshuffling of the workforce. Because of this, employees are likely going to be on the lookout for any additional job security or personal protection they can get from their next position.

This will likely mean that workers will put a higher premium on the availability of things like paid time off (PTO) and health benefits… This text opens a new tab to the article on employer health benefit options… when applying for jobs or choosing between offers from multiple employers.

If you want your business to remain competitive in the 2021 job market, now is the time to think about ways to provide PTO and health benefit options to your team… This text opens a new tab to the article on expanding benefits….

Big changes at the state level

If not for the coronavirus and the presidential election, this year’s big story from an employment law standpoint would have been related to the rollout of mandatory paid time off at the state level… This text opens a new tab to the article on expanding benefits….

Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia… This text opens a new tab to the article on expanding benefits… already require employers to provide some sort of time-off benefit to their employees, and five states have passed laws related to mandatory leave benefits that take effect on January 1, 2021.

We provide a brief break down of each of those new laws on the CEDR blog… This text opens a new tab to the article section on a preview of pending employment laws for California…, or you can use the links below to jump to information about the legislation in each specific state:

Along with making sure they are implementing the basic PTO provisions of these laws, office managers in these states will also need to ensure that their company policies are still compliant when the new laws take effect. If your practice is in one of the states listed above, it’s important that you work with an HR or employment law expert… This text opens a new tab to the page on solving HR problems before they start… to bring your handbook into compliance with the new guidelines.

You will also want to make sure that the timekeeping system you use for your office automatically tracks PTO… This text opens a new tab to the page on handling PTO and time tracking… for your employees as it accrues, while also making it easy to administer and track leave for your employees when the time comes.

We’ve opened up the Automatic PTO & Time Tracking System inside our HR Vault… This text opens a new tab to the page on handling PTO and time tracking…… This text opens a new tab to the page on handling PTO and time tracking… software… This text opens a new tab to the page on handling PTO and time tracking… so you can experience the difference that this type of automation makes for your practice in terms of organization and time savings free for 30 days. You just need a free HR Vault account… This text opens a new tab to the page on HR Vault… to get started.

Even if you are not in one of the states that already requires employers to provide some form of paid time off… This text opens a new tab to the article on expanding benefits…, or any of the five states rolling out new time off… This text opens a new tab to the article section on a preview of pending employment laws for California… laws in January, you should know that we expect this legislative trend to continue for the foreseeable future.

More and more states are passing legislation requiring employers to provide their employees with time off in one form or another. There has even been chatter about time-off laws potentially being passed at the federal level. This suggests that it’s likely just a matter of time before your practice is subject to a similar law.

You can get ahead of the curve (and other practices in your area), however, by making sure your system is set up to handle PTO… This text opens a new tab to the page on handling PTO and time tracking… before legislative changes force you to scramble to do so.

Conclusion

2020 has been a year of change for employers in the U.S. And that change has unfortunately put practice owners, managers, and employees under a great deal of pressure.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us in perhaps too many ways to count and, unfortunately for employers, all indications are that the changes wrought by the global health crisis are going to carry over into 2021 in one form or another.

When you then factor in the unpredictable nature of a potential presidential transition… This text opens a new tab to the article on how presidential policies could impact employees…, the shifting priorities of an unstable workforce… This text opens a new tab to the article on expanding benefits…, and the increasing prevalence of mandated time-off benefits in states across the nation… This text opens a new tab to the article on expanding benefits…, one theme becomes clear: it has never been more challenging or more important for employers to stay organized, informed, and on top of HR trends and ever-changing employment laws than it is right now.

When you’re ready to work with an HR expert to bring your business into compliance and/or gain an edge for the new year, AADOM Members can rest assured that CEDR will be here for you!… This text opens a new tab to the page on solving HR problems before they start…

To join in the conversation with HR experts and nearly 9000 other business owners and managers like you, you can join CEDR’s private, professional Facebook Group, HR Base Camp, here… This text opens a new tab to the Facebook group….

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