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January 27, 2021

President Biden’s Employee-Friendly Executive Orders

Shortly after taking office on January 21, 2021, President Biden enacted several employee-friendly executive orders.
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Wed, 01/27/2021

Shortly after taking office on January 21, 2021, President Biden enacted several employee-friendly executive orders.

Asserting that “[c]areer civil servants are the backbone of the federal workforce, providing the expertise and experience necessary for the critical functioning of the federal government,” President Biden reversed the previous administration’s actions rolling back protections for federal employees. Among the executive orders repealed by President Biden during his first days in office are the three executive orders signed by former President Trump in 2018 limiting collective bargaining, cutting official time, and prioritizing employee firings and discipline without the ability to challenge arbitrary conduct by supervisors and managers.. Importantly, in addition to repealing those executive orders, President Biden directed federal agencies to revisit any actions they took to implement the repealed orders and to bargain over “permissible,” non-mandatory subjects during collective bargaining.

President Biden also rescinded the executive order establishing Schedule F, which would have made making it easier to fire federal employees in so-called policy-making positions, although the definition of policy making positions under Trump’s Order was absurdly broad..

In addition to restoring important workplace rights and giving federal employees a “greater voice” in their working conditions, under President Biden’s instruction, federal agencies will identify workers who earn less than $15 an hour and make recommendations to raise their wages. The executive order also instructed federal agencies to develop a path for federal contractors to pay $15 an hour to their workers.

In an effort to address COVID-19’s impact on workers, President Biden issued an order directing the Department of Labor to revise and issue new guidance for employers to promote the health and safety of their workers, including wearing masks in the workplace.

Additionally, President Biden issued an executive order guaranteeing unemployment insurance for workers who refuse to work due to COVID-19 concerns. Specifically, the Department of Labor must clarify rules so that workers “have a federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health.” President Biden’s executive order also requested that Congress reinstate the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s COVID-19 related leave through September 30, 2021 and expand coverage to healthcare workers and first responders.

Building off the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, President Biden extended federal nondiscrimination protections in federal agencies to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Finally, President Biden froze all proposed regulations and effective dates implemented by the previous administration until all regulations can be reviewed.

For more information on the workplace protections available to federal workers, visit

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