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In the face of intensifying geopolitical risk and continuing economic uncertainty, the challenges for global employers to plan carefully and operate strategically to maintain a thriving workforce is greater than ever. We’ll help employers navigate those challenges in

The FTC rule banning post-employment noncompetes was published in the Federal Register on May 7, which means the rule will take effect on September 4, 2024, unless pending lawsuits to void the rule are successful.

Despite considerable uncertainty around when, or even whether, the rule will apply, employers should prepare now so as not to be caught flatfooted. The first step is to understand the rule’s parameters and potential impact on your business. Our FAQs guide you through the intricacies of the rule and the steps you should take while waiting for the lawsuits challenging the rule to be resolved.

Application of the Rule to Workers

1. Does the rule apply to B2B noncompetes?

No, the FTC rule does not apply to business-to-business (B2B) noncompetes. Instead, existing federal antitrust laws should continue to be considered when evaluating B2B noncompetes.

2. Does the rule apply to all workers?

No, there are limited exceptions. First, the rule does not invalidate existing noncompete agreements (i.e. agreements entered into on or before the effective date of September 4, 2024) with “senior executives.” After that date, new noncompetes with all US employees will be prohibited.

Senior executive” means a worker who received “total annual compensation” of at least $151,164 in the preceding year (or the equivalent amount when annualized if the worker was employed during only part of the year) and who is in a “policy-making position.”

  • “Total annual compensation” may include salary, commissions, nondiscretionary bonuses, and other nondiscretionary compensation earned during the preceding year, but does not include the cost of, or contributions to, fringe benefit programs.
  • Those in a “policy-making position” may include the President, CEO or equivalent, or others with “policy-making authority,” meaning “final authority to make policy decisions that control significant aspects of a business entity or common enterprise.” In the Supplementary Information to the rule (the FTC’s commentary on the rule), the Commission notes “many executives in what is often called the ‘C-suite’ will likely be senior executives if they are making decisions that have a significant impact on the business, such as important policies that affect most or all of the business. Partners in a business, such as physician partners of an independent physician practice, would also generally qualify as senior executives under the duties prong, assuming the partners have authority to make policy decisions about the business.”

Second, the rule does not apply to workers outside of the United States. See FAQ 11 below.Continue Reading Thirteen Things You Didn’t Know About the FTC’s Noncompete Ban and Five Steps to Prepare Now in Case it Takes Effect

New York employers now have a big “to do” item for 2025. Starting January 1, 2025, New York employers will be required to provide employees with 20 hours of paid prenatal personal leave (PPPL) during any 52‑week calendar period in addition to paid sick and safe leave (PSSL). New York is the first state in the US to require employers to provide such leave.

The new obligation results from Governor Hochul’s FY 2025 executive budget bill (A 8805), which passed April 20, 2024 and (among other things) amends New York Labor Law § 196-b (New York state’s paid sick and safe leave law). The new law does not change an employee’s entitlement to other leaves such as PSSL (which is 40 or 56 hours per year, depending on the size of the employer) and New York Paid Family Leave (which provides eligible employees job-protected, paid time off for reasons including to bond with a newborn, adopted or fostered child).

Breaking down PPPL

Who does this apply to?

All employers in New York are required to provide PPPL to all pregnant employees.

What type of leave is covered by PPPL?

PPPL is leave taken for health care services received by an employee during their pregnancy or related to such pregnancy, including

  • Physical examinations
  • Medical procedures
  • Monitoring and testing, and
  • Discussions with a health care provider related to the pregnancy

Does PPPL have to accrue before employees can take PPPL?

No. Eligible employees can take all 20 hours of PPPL they are entitled to for the 52-week period starting the effective date of the new law–without waiting for PPPL to accrue.

Are there certain increments for taking leave?

Employees are permitted to take PPPL in hourly increments.

How is PPPL paid?

PPPL must be paid in hourly installments. Employers must pay employees for PPPL at the employee’s regular rate of pay, or the applicable minimum wage–whichever is greater.Continue Reading New York Employers’ New “To Do” Item for 2025: Provide Paid Prenatal Personal Leave Starting January 1

Millions of additional employees will soon be eligible for federal overtime because of the Department of Labor’s April 23 Final Rule. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), certain salaried employees are exempt from federal minimum wage and overtime requirements if they are employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional (EAP) capacity. This is sometimes called the “white collar” exemption. The Final Rule:

  • Increases the minimum salary requirement for the EAP exemption from $684 per week ($35,568 annualized) to $844 per week ($43,888 annualized) effective July 1, 2024 and to $1,128 per week ($58,656 annualized) effective January 1, 2025; and
  • Increases the minimum total annual compensation level for exemption as a “highly compensated employee”—e.g., one who customarily and regularly performs any one or more of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an executive, administrative or professional employee—from $107,432 to $132,964 effective July 1, 2024 and to $151,164 effective January 1, 2025.

Continue Reading DOL Raises the Federal Overtime Salary Threshold | Next Steps for US Employers

On Tuesday this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its highly anticipated final rule on noncompetes, imposing a near-total ban on worker noncompetes in the United States. Barring injunctive relief from legal challenges (which have already started), the rule will take effect 120 days from publication in the federal register.

Interestingly, the rule exempts noncompete covenants entered into pursuant to a bona fide sale of a business. While “bona fide” is not defined in the final rule, the Supplementary Information for the rule explains that the FTC considered but rejected percentage and dollar minimum thresholds for the sale of business exception to weed out “exploitative and coercive” noncompetes and clarified that excepted noncompetes must be given “pursuant to a bona fide sale.” The Supplementary Information further explains that the FTC considers a bona fide sale to be one that is made between two independent parties at arm’s length, and in which the seller has a reasonable opportunity to negotiate the terms of the sale. In contrast, the FTC specifically calls out as problematic “springing noncompetes,” which apply to employees in the event of a sale and mandatory stock redemption or repurchase programs because the employee has no goodwill to exchange in the sale for the noncompete and no meaningful opportunity to negotiate at the time of contracting.

Nevertheless, the bona fide sale exception is broad and preserves the status quo by allowing buyers in M&A transactions to obtain noncompetes from individual sellers in circumstances where such noncompetes are otherwise permitted currently. While the pending and anticipated legal challenges to the rule are significant and place the entire rule in jeopardy, the sale of business exception is not likely to be narrowed because of these challenges.

So, what does this new regime mean for M&A?

What Type of Noncompetes Are Impacted?

The Supplementary Information confirms that the new rule does not apply to B2B noncompetes or nonsolicits. Instead, the focus of the rule is noncompetes with workers that limit their ability to work for others. So the rule does not impact current B2B agreements.

Second, the FTC repeatedly makes the point that noncompetes must meet existing state and federal law restrictions (e.g., reasonable in scope and duration; limited to the goodwill to be acquired, etc.) to be enforceable, even if they otherwise fall within the sale of business exception in the new rule. This is the case because the FTC rule creates a new floor for noncompetes by preempting more lax state rules, but it does not preempt more stringent state laws or federal antitrust restrictions.Continue Reading Still Going Strong: M&A Noncompetes and the FTC’s Final Rule on Noncompetes

Join us for our virtual New York 2023-2024 Employment Law Update on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 1 pm ET.

In this 60-minute session, our team will highlight what employers in New York and the surrounding areas need to know to effectively navigate 2024, with practical tips to handle the latest developments including:

  • The shifting

In late breaking news out of New York, Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed legislation that would have imposed the most restrictive state-level ban on employee non-competes in the United States. Last June, the New York State Assembly passed S3100, which if signed by Governor Hochul, would have voided any contract restraining anyone from engaging in a

New York never rests–especially for employers–and 2023 was no exception. In 2023, New York employers were required to continuously pivot to meet new obligations and adhere to new limitations under freshly-enacted laws, and to closely follow landmark legislation that would significantly impact the workplace if signed. At the top of the list: S3100, a bill that would have banned employers’ use of employee noncompetes if signed (but employers can now breathe a sigh of relief, because Governor Hochul recently vetoed the bill). 2024 promises to continue to be dynamic for New York employers.

Here are ten of the most important changes New York employers need to know right now as we step into 2024–as well as what’s coming down the pike, a couple of important changes you may have missed, and what we’re keeping an eye on as we step into the new year.  

What you need to know right now

1. New York’s bill restricting noncompetes vetoed by Governor Hochul

On December 22, 2023 Governor Hochul vetoed S3100, which would have been the most restrictive state-level ban on employers’ use of noncompetes to date if it had been signed into law. Passed by the New York State Assembly in June 2023, S3100 provided that every contract restraining anyone from engaging in a lawful profession, trade or business of any kind is void to the extent of the restraint; allowed a private right of action for employees; and did not have an explicit “sale of business” exception (for more details on the now-vetoed legislation, see our prior blog here.)

The bill faced opposition by Wall Street and other industries that heavily rely on noncompetes, and business groups pushed for amendments to the bill (which the governor had until the end of 2023 to sign or veto). In late November, Governor Hochul reportedly stated she was in favor of striking a balance that would protect lower- and middle-income workers (up to $250,000) but allow noncompetes for those at higher income levels who are better equipped to negotiate on their own to do so. Reports are that Governor Hochul recently tried to negotiate amendments to the bill in this respect, but that negotiations broke down.

Employer takeaway:

  • We expect this issue to make an appearance in New York’s next legislative session. Employers should keep an eye out for the introduction of new bills to restrict noncompetes and follow their progress. Now that Governor Hochul has expressed favor for an income threshold to ban noncompetes, legislators may be more likely to craft a bill that will more easily be signed into law.

Continue Reading New York Employer “Top Ten” (and more): What to Know Heading into 2024

Special thanks to co-presenters Nandu Machiraju and William Rowe.

Where the sellers or shareholders in a corporate transaction are individuals (especially where they may continue on as employees of the buyer), noncompetes are a valuable tool in a deal lawyer’s toolbox. However, there is a clear trend of increasing hostility to the use of