Advocacy groups Regulation

Worker advocacy groups publish policy brief for newly elected governors, state lawmakers

A State Agenda for America's Workers
Photo: Economic Policy Institute

Washington — The National Employment Law Project and the Economic Analysis and Research Network recently released a policy brief intended to advise incoming governors and state legislators on best practices “to protect workers in their states so that all communities can thrive and grow.”

Citing Trump administration efforts to roll back regulations on worker health and safety, the advocacy groups are calling on officials at the state level to maintain worker protections.

Recommendations included in the brief:

  • Protect workers’ health and safety by adopting responsible state health and safety contracting, enhancing state workplace protections on heat exposure, and strengthening workers’ compensation laws “to prevent any further weakening of benefits and coverage.”
  • Guarantee workers paid sick days, paid family leave and fair scheduling. More than 34 million U.S. workers lack even one paid sick day, while 60 percent of the workforce does not have access to paid family leave.
  • Restore effective enforcement of protections by increasing labor agency budgets to ensure adequate staffing and enforcement capacity.
  • Develop strategic enforcement priorities in conjunction with worker organizations.
  • Defend workers’ freedom to unionize.
  • Adopt temporary and staffing agency worker protection laws.
  • Clarify that basic protections apply to workers in the on-demand or “gig” economy.
  • Ensure state labor and employment laws cover all workers, regardless of immigration status.
  • Promote access to drivers’ licenses for all workers to enhance public safety.

“Many of the key reforms we outline are best practices that the U.S. Department of Labor pioneered during the Obama administration – but that now are being dismantled under President Trump,” Paul Sonn, NELP state policy program director, said in a Dec. 4 press release. “Governors and legislatures can protect their states from the impact of the Trump attacks by adopting these best practices for promoting good jobs for their communities.”

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