Employment law 5 in 5: April 2024

30 April 2024 3 min read

By Cassie Boyle and Sarah Hellewell

At a glance

  • Use of non-compete clauses in the US.
  • Incoming changes in Asia-Pacific.
  • Increased enforcement activity globally.
  • April was a busy month for developments in the US.
  • Join our global employer events.

Review: Use of non-compete clauses in US  

The US Federal Trade Commission voted to finalise a rule banning any new non-compete restrictions for workers in the US. If it survives legal challenges, the final rule will invalidate most non-competes and pre-empt less restrictive state laws. Regardless of the outcome, the rule may be viewed as part of a broader trend toward promoting worker mobility at both the federal and state levels. In April both Washington and Maryland enacted new restrictions on non-competes. Employers are encouraged to take proactive steps to account for and evaluate their existing use of non-competes.

Focus: Incoming changes in Asia-Pacific  

New laws in Australia will provide an extra two weeks of federally-funded paid parental leave from 1 July 2024, with government funding increasing from July 2025. From 1 December 2024, employers in Singapore must fairly consider formal requests from employees for flexible work arrangements under new mandatory Guidelines. In New Zealand, a Bill to create greater transparency in pay and to enable pay discrimination to be more easily identified and remedied is under legislative consideration.

Monitor: Increased enforcement  

As the trend towards increased enforcement activity continues, the Chinese government has delegated more powers to the tax bureau in relation to the social insurance collection process. In Hungary, labour fines and health and safety fines have increased from 1 March 2024, indicating that labour and health and safety inspections may become more frequent. The Danish Ministry of Employment has submitted a bill which would ensure that, from 1 July 2024, both local and foreign companies would fall under the Working Environment Authority’s inspection plan.

Spotlight: Developments in the US  

April was a busy month in the US. Among other developments, the EEOC issued its final regulation implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (under legal challenge) and the final version of its enforcement guidance on workplace harassment. The Department of Labor issued its final rule increasing minimum salary and compensation levels for overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (with legal challenges also expected). The US Supreme Court addressed whether a transportation worker must work in the transportation industry to be exempt from coverage under Section 1 of the FAA and clarified whether a job transfer on the basis of sex can be considered discrimination within the meaning of Title VII, even where the transfer does not cause “significant” harm to the worker. New York introduced (from January 2025) paid prenatal personal leave; a proposed California bill would provide a right to disconnect and the California Supreme Court further defined “hours worked” under California law.

Attend: Global employer events  

Join us at our upcoming global employer events: Our UK conference – The “unspoken” realities of Diversity, Equality & Inclusion – on 21 May; Employment in Belgium webinar on 11 June; and our half-day Employment Law Training workshops running in our London office on various dates during May and June.