This year, the federal government, states, counties, and cities were once again active in enacting workplace laws that created new requirements for firms to comply with, most of which aimed to protect workers.
2023 was a busy year for changes to work laws, by all accounts. The amount of change that human resource professionals have to deal with is made worse by the increasing geographic mobility of workers, state and municipal governments, and busy federal regulators.
It is much more frequent across sectors to have one or more employees working in states other than the primary place(s) of business.
In light of this, employers must be informed about developments in various countries and prepared for any changes that may arise in 2024. The following are some important employment law changes to prepare for in 2024!
Department of Labour (DOL) Proposed Rule on Overtime Requirements
The DOL has proposed raising the wage threshold for overtime exemptions from $684 per week to $1,059 per week (or $55,068 yearly).
Employees in executive, administrative, or professional roles are eligible for overtime pay if their weekly salary is less than $1,059 and the law is implemented as planned.
Additionally, the DOL has suggested raising the annual income threshold for highly paid workers from $107,432 to $143,988, with automatic updates to these compensation adjustments occurring every three years based on current wage data.
Sergey Dvorkin, owner of Flex who operates in the US and Canada says: “It is advisable for employers to take into account the criteria when starting performance evaluations, pay analyses, and bonus objectives and figures, since these adjustments may take effect in the spring or summer of 2024.
A thorough and well-thought-out pay scheme is crucial since these changes will also affect other jobs.”
There are a few possibilities available: positions can be modified to remove the exemption and restrict overtime; the performance process or yearly adjustments may be postponed; bonuses could be utilized less often or for smaller amounts as more compensation will be needed for base pay.
Many Changes to State Laws
Jonathan Rosenfeld, owner of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers says: “Significant modifications have been made to employment legislation in a number of states. For instance, Illinois implemented paid time off for almost all workers.
Colorado revised its legislation to, among other things, tighten rules on nonsolicitation agreements, include marital status as a protected employment category, and redefine the standard for sexual harassment.
Many other states, like Ohio, have legalized marijuana for recreational use, which may have significant ramifications for all companies in those areas.
Employers should now make a list of the states in which their staff members reside. Speak with your legal counsel to make sure that all of your employee states are met by your rules, handbooks, and procedures.
For instance, 80% of your personnel may live in places where paid sick leave is not mandated, but the other 20% may work from Illinois.
The new paid leave laws in Illinois should be taken into account when modifying your policies, as well as if you want to apply the same rules to all employees.”
A Minimum Wage Of $16 Per Hour In (California)
Harrison Tang, owner of Spokeo, a California-based company states: “California will continue to lead the way as other states adopt a $15 minimum wage. They noticed the $15 and, in true California manner, boosted it by $1.
Jan. 1 is the start date for all firms, regardless of size, to implement the $16 minimum wage.
Furthermore, you need to consider that this increases the minimum income barrier for your exempt employees in addition to having an impact on your hourly workers. Currently, it amounts to $66,560 annually.
Additionally, there are greater minimum salaries in certain California areas, and companies need to be aware of industry-specific regulations. For example, the state establishes different pay criteria for healthcare staff.”
Safe and paid time off in (California)
Tommy Mello, owner of A1 Garage says: “Employees in California will soon have a broad right to paid sick and safe leave of five days or forty hours, whichever is more.
Companies need to make sure their employees are using their time off for authorized purposes.
Local regulations may also overlap or even contradict this obligation, therefore before imposing documentation requirements or disciplinary action on an employee for not providing it, employers should get legal advice.
Employers should take special notice of the law’s provision for leave due to the health condition of someone they select as their “designated person.”
It’s not necessary to have a conventional family bond.”
The FTC’s Plan to Regulate Non-Compete Agreements
The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2023 with the goal of nullifying current non-compete clauses and forbidding companies from negotiating such clauses with employees in the future.
The Chamber of Commerce has threatened legal action against the idea, and Commissioner Christine S. Wilson has voiced a persuasive solo dissent, among other points of contention surrounding it.
The Commission will analyze more than 25,000 public comments before taking a final decision on the plan in April 2024.
Companies have to think about going over the terms of their employment contracts with both present and past workers to see how the new regulation would affect them.
States are also aggressively policing the terms of employment contracts. California’s new legislation is comparable to the Commission’s proposed regulation.
Effective January 1, 2024, California employers are forbidden from entering into non-compete agreements with employees and from enforcing existing agreements, regardless of where or when the agreement was executed, despite the fact that traditional non-compete agreements have long been void under California case law.
Put otherwise, it is illegal for any employer, past or present, to try to enforce a non-compete agreement in the state of California.