The law is always changing, and employment law is no different. And not surprisingly, these changes in employment law can suddenly and significantly alter hiring and workforce management processes. To ensure organizations remain in compliance, they must be vigilant in monitoring legal changes and reacting accordingly.
Here are some legal changes that will likely impact hiring and workforce management in 2024.
1. Paid Leave
The American workforce has fought for paid leave as far back as the early 20th century. And while the federal government has failed to pass legislation to secure paid leave, states have had greater success passing such laws, starting with California back in 2002. Now, thirteen states have passed laws relating to paid leave.
Employers should expect this trend to continue with more legislation in more states creating new mandates for paid time off. And not surprisingly, these changes will require extensive administration, coordination and organizational communication, especially for multistate employers.
2. Minimum Wage Laws
In 2024, a near-record number of states will increase their minimum wages. Starting this month, 47 cities and counties will increase their wage floor to at least $15 per hour. Then, later this year, 15 more jurisdictions will increase their minimum wages to at least $17 per hour.
The increases in wages will force employers to ensure they are adjusting salaries to match the state and local minimums. In some cases, employers will need to go beyond these minimums if they want to stay competitive.
3. Work From Home Reimbursements
During Covid-19, many employees switched to working from home instead of the office. In so doing, these at-home employees had to rely on their own funds to establish their at-home offices.
With all these home office purchases, employees soon wondered if they were solely responsible for the expenses, or if their employer should pick up the tab. And while there is no federal law requiring employers to reimburse employees for work expenses (besides a small exception under the Fair Labor Standards Act) several states and local governments enacted laws requiring employers to reimburse workers for their expenses, and some states are extending those laws to include remote work expenses.
Employers will need to be diligent in making sure they are following the proper reimbursement laws in the States where they operate – and paying particular attention to whether these laws require reimbursements for home office expenses.
4. Eliminating Non-Competes
One of the most common ways employers traditionally protected their businesses from competition was to have their employees agree to not work for a competitor or start a competing venture within a certain time period or location after the working relationship ended.
But that tactic took a dramatic blow in early 2023 when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule aimed at banning most non-compete agreements across the United States. The FTC argued that such non-competes constituted an unfair method of competition and violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
If the proposed rule moves forward, it will prohibit any contractual term between an employer and worker that seeks to prevent the worker from accepting employment with a person or business at the end of the employment relationship. Employers will thus need to revise their employment agreements and remove any language that infringes on the rule.
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