2023 promises to bring sweeping changes for employers and the employee experience. A host of new labor laws, rules, and regulations are set to come into effect in the coming year, with a focus on wage equity, expanded healthcare benefits, and other initiatives. Some of the more significant changes employers may have to deal with this year include:
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
President Biden signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2023 (PWFA) into law in December 2022, which will take effect on June 27, 2023. The PWFA will provide new protections for pregnant and nursing employees. Thus, companies with more than 15 employees must grant temporary and reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. These accommodations may include providing more frequent restroom breaks, providing seating, or allowing modified work schedules. The PWFA also applies to nursing mothers, requiring employers to provide reasonable break times and a private space other than a bathroom for them to express milk during the workday.
FTC’s Proposal to Ban Non-Compete Clauses
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently proposed banning non-compete clauses, which prevent employees from working for competing businesses for a particular amount of time after leaving their current employment. The FTC’s proposed rule would prohibit employers from using these clauses, giving workers more freedom to switch jobs and pursue better wages and working conditions.
According to the FTC, non-compete clauses can hurt competition in the labor market by limiting worker mobility and preventing them from taking advantage of higher wages or better working conditions. They also believe these clauses can limit innovation by preventing businesses from hiring employees with specialized skills or knowledge.
The proposed ban has been met with both support and criticism. Supporters argue that it will give workers more freedom to move between jobs, while critics worry that it could lead to an increase in the poaching of employees by competitors — not to mention the loss of customers when employees transfer the relationships they’ve created during their previous employment to their new employer.