President’s Jobs/Infrastructure Plan Calls for Increased Employer Penalties

April 23, 2021

As part of his American Jobs Plan, President Biden “is calling for increased penalties when employers violate workplace safety and health rules,” as his American Family Plan will likely include a national paid leave program.

Higher civil monetary penalties (CMPs) in the future?  As part of any budget reconciliation bill, which only requires 51 Senate votes and cannot be filibustered, Congress could significantly increase the monetary penalties for a wide variety of workplace violations including in the areas of wage and hour, OSHA, ERISA, and immigration.

Higher CMPs would add teeth to DOL’s renewed enforcement focus on worker misclassification under the FLSA (see additional story). 

The American Jobs Plan also calls for passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which cannot be done through budget reconciliation, but could be partially implemented through the budget appropriations process.

Paid leave on the horizon?  Separately, President Biden’s American Family Plan, which is expected to roll out next week, will likely include a national paid leave program and expanded subsidies for child care.

Outlook:  Increasing CMPs is an easy way to generate revenue to offset other spending priorities, so it is highly likely this proposal will make it into the infrastructure bill.