With a Democrat advantage in Congress, maybe keep on eye on these two pieces of employment legislation

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Last week, both the House and the Senate re-introduced two pieces of prior legislation. One would overhaul federal labor law — oh, is that all? The second is a new(ish) paid family leave bill that never made it to the President’s desk for signature.

But, this time around, with the Democrats seemingly in control of the House and the Senate –and a Democrat in the Oval Office — might these bills become laws?

PRO Act.

Shout out to Braden Campbell at Law360, who reported here last week that Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. are sponsoring the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (the PRO Act) in the Senate, with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. doing the same in the House.

If you don’t feel like reading the entire bill, here is a three-page fact sheet.

And if three-page fact sheets on enhancing the rights of organized labor aren’t your jam, Braden Campbell’s article summarizes it as a bill that would “would strengthen the National Labor Relations Act by imposing financial penalties on employers that violate workers’ rights, nullify state laws letting workers refuse to pay dues, narrow exclusions for contract workers, and more.”

Here’s my spin. The PRO Act has no chance at becoming law because it will never get past a Republican filibuster in the Senate.


A few years ago, I wrote here about some then-pending legislation options that would have nationalized paid family leave. One option was from Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL. Dubbed the ‘‘Economic Security for New Parents Act,” his legislation would have allowed working parents to use some of their Social Security funds to take paid leave for childbirth or adoption.

Then you had the SHRM-touted Workflex in the 21st Century Act, through which employers would voluntarily offer full- and part-time employees at least a guaranteed minimum level of paid leave. The amount would depend on an employee’s tenure and the employer’s size. Participating employers also would offer all employees at least one type of workflex option.

And then we had another piece of competing legislation called the FAMILY Act, which is back again in 2021. Max Kutner, writing at Law360 here, offers this description:

Under the proposed national program, workers could receive up to 66% of their monthly wages while taking as much as 12 weeks off due to health conditions, pregnancy, childbirth, child adoption, a family member’s injury or sickness and reasons related to service members’ deployment.

Presumably, you’ll see other paid leave variants surface too, as we did in 2018. This time around, however, it would not surprise me to see a compromise bill pass. Heck, we got a small taste of paid leave with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

We’ve got a while before a national paid family leave program becomes a reality. But, I’ll keep you updated.

The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Hour returns on Friday at Noon ET.

I doubt that we’ll have any updates this week. But, we’ll have plenty more to discuss on Friday at Noon ET with special guest Abigail Morrow. Abigail is the Assistant General Counsel at Staffmark Group, a family of specialty staffing and recruiting brands.

If you work for a staffing company or do business with a staffing company, and you have HR questions, we may have the answers. It’s just that those answers won’t create an attorney-client privilege between us and should never be relied upon as actual legal advice, which is not what we’re providing. You dig?

(Even if you don’t have anything to do with a staffing company, you’re welcome to join us. We’ll cover other topics too.)

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