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Major 2024 U.S. Labor Law Updates Every HR Professional Must Know!

In the landscape of American labor laws, 2024 marks a pivotal year as transformative regulations reshape the boundaries of employment agreements and workplace accountability. The FTC’s proposal to eradicate non-compete clauses signals a strong shift towards enhancing labor market fluidity, potentially liberating thousands of workers from restrictive covenants that have long curtailed career mobility and dampened innovation. Meanwhile, the NLRB’s revised joint employer standard and OSHA’s heightened reporting mandates are setting new benchmarks for corporate responsibility and operational transparency. Collectively, these reforms aim to balance the scales between employer prerogatives and employee rights, fostering a more equitable and dynamic work environment.

FTC’s New Regulations on Non-Compete Agreements

In 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a regulation to eliminate non-compete agreements, aiming to boost labor market competitiveness and job mobility. This change could end existing clauses that prevent employees from joining competitors or starting similar ventures post-employment. Primarily used to protect business secrets, these agreements have been criticized for restricting employee careers and stifling innovation, particularly harming small businesses. With a final decision expected by April 2024, employers must review contract terms and prepare for adjustments, while employees should consider potential career impacts. For example, a 2019 survey found that 30% of job contracts included non-compete clauses, highlighting their prevalence and the significant effect of this regulatory change.

NLRB’s Updated Joint Employer Standard

In 2024, the NLRB updated the joint employer standard, broadening the scope for defining joint employment. Now, businesses with any control over essential employment conditions—like wages, work duties, and employee safety—can be deemed joint employers. This differs from the 2020 rule requiring “substantial direct and immediate control.” This could mean more businesses will be classified as joint employers, affecting their partnerships and liabilities. They must be vigilant in contract negotiations and HR policies to avoid unintended joint employer status. It’s vital for HR professionals to collaborate with legal advisors, ensuring compliance and training for management. For example, under the previous standard, a franchise might not be considered a joint employer with its franchisor, but now, even indirect influence over employees’ conditions could change that, affecting numerous franchise agreements.

OSHA’s Expanded Requirements for Reporting Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

In 2024, OSHA expanded its injury and illness data submission requirements for high-risk industries, enhancing safety and transparency. Employers with 100+ employees in sectors like agriculture and construction must submit detailed injury logs and summaries to OSHA. This data, including the company’s legal name, will be publicized to inform decisions on workplace safety.

Which employers are required to submit data under the new regulation? Institutions in certain high-risk industries (such as agriculture, manufacturing, entertainment, construction, etc.) with 100 or more employees must annually submit their Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA. Additionally, these submissions must include Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).

Employers must now ensure that their record-keeping complies with these new mandates from January 1, 2024. The change demands more meticulous reporting and may affect public perception of a company’s safety standards. HR professionals need to align with safety departments to meet submission deadlines.

This regulation intends to make workplaces safer and more accountable. For instance, a manufacturing company previously reporting 50 incidents may now reveal a higher number due to more stringent documentation, impacting its safety reputation. Companies must adapt to maintain compliance and safeguard their image.

New Regulations on Non-Compete Agreements in California and Maryland

Starting in 2024, California banned all non-compete agreements, invalidating both new and existing contracts, to boost workforce mobility. Employers must notify employees hired since January 1, 2022, of this change. Similarly, Maryland barred non-compete clauses for employees making up to 150% of the minimum wage or less—effectively $15 per hour.

Employers and HR must navigate these new landscapes, ensuring trade secrets and intellectual property are safeguarded under these limitations. For instance, in California, a tech company might have to revise contracts for 1,000+ employees, redefining confidentiality and invention assignment clauses to comply while still protecting its interests.

The regulatory revisions of 2024 represent a watershed moment for employers and employees alike. California and Maryland’s elimination of non-compete agreements, the NLRB’s inclusive joint employer criteria, and OSHA’s rigorous reporting requirements collectively inaugurate a new era of labor relations. These changes reflect a conscious move towards fortifying worker freedoms and promoting a culture of safety and transparency within the American workplace. As companies adjust to these norms, the implications on corporate governance, employee relations, and market competition will unfold, demanding vigilance and adaptation to the emergent legal landscape. The onus now lies on HR professionals to navigate this complex terrain, ensuring legal compliance while safeguarding business interests, thus steering their organizations towards a future that honors both the spirit and letter of these landmark reforms.

Case study:Gonex helps NanoTech with avoiding mistakes in the U.S.

In 2024, Gonex, a business consultancy, aided Nanotech Innovations, a Chinese tech SME with 200 employees, in navigating new U.S. legal changes to successfully expand into California and Maryland. Understanding California’s ban on non-compete agreements, Gonex revised Nanotech’s employment contracts, replacing non-competes with stringent non-disclosure and invention assignments for their Silicon Valley team. In Maryland, they tailored contracts to comply with the non-compete salary threshold, ensuring clauses were only applied to employees earning over 150% of the state’s $15 minimum wage.

To circumvent the broadened joint employer liabilities per NLRB’s update, Gonex recommended contractual adjustments with U.S. partners to maintain autonomy over employee terms, avoiding extra liabilities. They also established a detailed incident reporting system for Nanotech, meeting OSHA’s new requirement for companies with 100+ employees to document workplace injuries, thus keeping Nanotech compliant and mitigating risk of penalties.

Through Gonex’s strategic planning, Nanotech avoided legal missteps, established a compliant and ethical U.S. presence, and safeguarded its competitive edge and reputation.


Why Gonex?

Gonex stands at the forefront of global HR services, with established 10+ legal entities and operations across numerous countries. Our strength lies in forging in-depth relationships with local partners, ensuring clients receive top-notch services in their international ventures. Our Overseas Employment Management Delivery team, composed of seasoned HR professionals, brings years of expertise to the table, steering clients clear of pitfalls and guiding them to their goals with ease. We specialize in mastering complex employment regulations, managing seamless payroll systems, and ensuring strict compliance. Leveraging AI-driven solutions, Gonex not only simplifies international payments but also minimizes risks and secures global compliance. Embrace the convenience of unified payments, the thoroughness of our onboarding process, and the precision of our offboarding procedures. For companies looking to expand globally, Gonex EOR Services offers a sustainable, efficient path to success.

 GONEX One-Stop Solution: Your strategic partner

In navigating these challenges, GONEX offers comprehensive solutions tailored to the needs of companies:

Compliance and Legal Adherence: GONEX’s Employer of Record (EOR) service ensures legal compliance in employing local staff.

Cross-Border Payroll and Tax Management: Streamlined payroll services simplify cross-border management.

Flexible Employment Solutions: Adaptable employment services cater to changing business needs.

International Talent Dispatch: Support services facilitate the dispatch of key talent to Thailand.

Digital HR Management Platform: Technology-driven solutions enhance management efficiency and cultural integration.

Gonex is your gateway to efficient global expansion with Employer of Record services extending across 130+ countries. We deliver comprehensive, cost-effective solutions for payroll and compliance, tailored to local market needs. Our expertise saves you over 20% compared to competitors, combining quality with value to enhance your international operations. Available 24/7, our seasoned professionals ensure swift, knowledgeable support for smooth onboarding and offboarding. Trust Gonex to simplify your global HR challenges, freeing you to focus on core business growth. Expand with confidence, expand with Gonex.

Let Gonex assist you and your company with handling such complex overseas hiring processes! To access more information on corporate international expansion cases, global employment guidelines, worldwide compensation management, regulations for various regional countries, and factory establishment manuals in different nations, you are welcome to visit the GONEX official website at www.letsgonex.com to download these resources or view our company’s business introduction in PDF format (https://letsgonex.com/in.pdf).

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