President Joe Biden plans to sign executive orders boosting workers' rights and pushing for a $15 minimum wage for federal staff

  • President Joe Biden plans to sign two executive orders Friday focused on workers' rights.
  • One will ensure people can still claim employment benefits if they turn down a job that poses a risk to their health.
  • The other paves the way to further legislation on Biden's promise of a $15 hourly minimum wage.
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President Joe Biden has planned a series of actions aimed at raising the minimum wage for federal staff to $15 and boosting workers' rights, Brian Deese, his National Economic Council director, told reporters Thursday.

This includes two executive orders Biden is set to sign Friday.

As part of the first order, the Department of Labor will be asked to clarify that people seeking employment can continue claiming benefits if they turn down a job because it puts them at substantial risk of catching COVID-19.

The order will provide workers "a federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health, and if they do so, they will still qualify for unemployment insurance," White House officials said, per The New York Times.

A second executive order Biden is expected to sign Friday focuses on rights for federal staff.

Read more: Democrats are lining up behind Biden's COVID-19 stimulus plan, a stark contrast to the deep GOP divides over the last deal

Biden will ask agencies to review which federal workers make less than $15 per hour, and to develop recommendations to boost all staff to this wage.

The order will also overturn three executive orders signed by President Donald Trump in 2018 that limited job protections for federal employees and weakened their labor unions.

Biden pushed for a $15 minimum wage in his election campaign, and it became a core component of his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan announced last week.

Friday's order will ultimately lead to another executive order Biden asked his team to prepare, which would mean federal contractors must offer $15 per hour minimum wage alongside emergency paid leave. Biden plans to sign this order in his first 100 days in office, Deese said.

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