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Do High Welfare Benefits Promote Unemployment?

Numerous employers and some studies suggest that many employees prefer government aid to a regular paycheck. Employers would agree that lower skilled workers are scarce right now and many jobs remain unfilled. Multiple sources indicate that some workers are turning down offers in lower wage occupations because their stimulus checks and jobless benefits pay their bills.

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Tax Credit for Employers Who Give Employees Paid Leave for Covid Vaccination and Recovery

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) allows small and mid-size employers, and certain governmental employers, to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19, including leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations. The ARP tax credits are available to eligible employers that pay sick and family leave for leave from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

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Employers Must Find and Tell Laid-off Employees of Health Subsidies

Before May 31, 2021, employers must notify certain former employees that they may be entitled to free health care coverage under recent federal legislation. The new law provides fully subsidized coverage through COBRA from April 1 through September 30, 2021 for employees who were laid off or lost their job-based health coverage due to reduced hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice must be provided to people who were first eligible to elect coverage from October 2019 to the present, even if the people did not elect COBRA coverage or dropped COBRA coverage. 

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How the Union Analyzed Its Loss at Amazon

The 71% to 29% loss by the union campaign at Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama, is the most well-publicized and significant union election of the decade. The union brought in outside groups to show their strength and solidarity, including churches, the NFL Players' Association, Black Lives Matter organizers, and national celebrities including Senator Bernie Sanders and Danny Glover, and showed a video from President Biden encouraging their organization.

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Biden Orders Creation of Pro-union Task Force

In May, President Biden signed an executive order creating a task force to promote labor organizing as part of a push to strengthen unions. According to the White House, the Order will direct the task force to promote new ways of using the federal government's policies to encourage workers to organize and successfully bargain with employers. It will be led by Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. 

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Favorable Trump Independent Contractor Rule Canceled by Biden

The Trump Administration issued a federal regulation making it easier for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. While the Trump regulation listed five factors for consideration, the two given the far greatest weight were the nature and degree of the worker's control over the work, and the worker's opportunity for profit or loss based on personal initiative or investment. The final rule issued by the Biden Administration in early May rescinded this regulation. 

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TPS Status Added for Burma and Venezuela

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows nationals of a foreign country to live and work in the U.S. because of conflict or disaster preventing their safe return to their home country. In March, the Department of Homeland Security made the announcement allowing Venezuelans and Burmese to be granted TPS, and extending the status for Syrian nationals living in the U.S. In May, Homeland Security said it will redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Haiti, giving nationals already living in the U.S. as of May 21 the opportunity to apply for protections.

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Biden Uses Executive Authority to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 for Government Contractors

President Biden campaigned on a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 by 2026. He first tried to carry out this campaign promise as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, but the Senate parliamentarian ruled that raising the federal minimum wage does not meet requirements to pass the bill by a majority vote (without the opportunity for a filibuster) through budget reconciliation. There were later attempts by liberal Democrats to circulate a plan to punish corporations with a tax penalty if employees were not paid at least a certain amount. 

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