The Executive Orders Employers Need to Know


January was not a slow news month (is that even a possibility anymore?) and it included potential changes to the workplace. While some of these changes may still be on the horizon, it’s important to know of them before your business is required to implement new policies by law. Here’s a roundup of the executive orders the Biden made:


1. Diversity training in the federal government. Biden canceled the limitations on diversity training for federal agencies that the Trump had placed. His order also places emphasis on equity when creating new federal job opportunities and mandates that each department be held accountable (via internal reviews) for their diversity policies and submit a report on findings within six months. The report must include an action plan for addressing areas of growth.

2. Climate. Biden placed a pause on new federal oil leases and ordered federal vehicles to transition to an electric fleet. Why does this affect the workplace? According to the, new climate directives translate to job creation.

3. Covid-19 response. The Biden is pressing for more PPE to be available to workers as well as increased virus testing, vaccinations, and the requirement that all federal employees be masked and practice social distancing in federal buildings/land. His order may translate to more remote work (or the extension of), increased workplace safety measures, and for employers to develop new or review existing vaccination policies. Many employers are already considering such policies, weighing potential options such as financial incentives for employers to get the vaccine or simply including vaccination education into their training programs.



4. Speaking of workplace safety… Biden also directed that employees not be denied unemployment benefits after turning down job offers because of safety concerns. Also, the decision was made to require OSHA to update its safety recommendations, perform an internal review, and consider penalizing companies that do not adhere to safety requirements. The number one way to avoid safety issues at the workplace? Safety trainings!

5. Workplace discrimination. Biden signed an order strengthening protections for employees against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. It requires that the recent Supreme Court decision that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides these protections for the LGBTQ+ community be upheld.

6. Minimum wage increase. We saved a big one for last. Biden signed an executive order directing that the federal minimum wage be increased to $15/hr. This same order also encourages union organizing. Another to keep a close eye on!


All of these potential changes will require employers to re-tool business plans and take measures to ensure they are in compliance to any new laws that arise. If the time comes to modify your company’s policies and you’re not quite sure where to start, we invite you to reach out to us and learn how Eos HR can help. We’re a team of HR professionals helping small businesses navigate the multitude of recent changes to labor laws. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

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