The Federal Trade Commission proposes preventing employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers and requiring employers to rescind existing non-compete clauses. The proposal would ban or limit employment contract restrictive covenants that restrict workers' freedom to change jobs. The Commission estimates that the proposed rule would increase American workers’ earnings between $250 billion and $296 billion per year.
Accordingly, the proposal, if adopted in its current form, could have far-reaching impacts on the agreements and arrangements that employers enter into with their C-suite and other key executives, as well as on other aspects of executive compensation.
The Commission invites the public to submit comments on the proposed rule. The FTC will review the comments and may make changes, in a final rule, based on the comments and on the FTC’s further analysis of this issue. The comment period is open through Mar 10, 2023.
New Laws for Nursing Mothers
On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP) into law. Passage of these laws means that this coming spring and summer will usher in an expansion of workplace protections for pregnant and nursing employees throughout the country.
More details will be coming but for now the Department of Labor has provided a Q&A, PowerPoint presentation, and other useful guidance to help prepare.
Break Time for Nursing Mothers | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)
Good News for Texas Employers!
There are across-the-board reductions in the minimum and maximum rates and all of the variables that go into the State unemployment tax rate calculations.
Unemployment taxes in Texas have always been among the very lowest in the nation and for 2023, the minimum rate will decrease to 0.23%, and the maximum will be 6.23%. Given that the taxable wage base in Texas is $9,000, that means that an employer with the minimum tax rate will pay $20.70 per employee in 2023, while the tax for an employer with the maximum rate will pay $560.70 per employee.
Employers with no chargebacks from unemployment claims for the preceding three years will qualify for the minimum rate, while employers with some amount of chargebacks during that three-year period will have a higher rate that is capped at 6.31%. The exact formula for the unemployment tax rate in Texas is explained online at https://twc.texas.gov/businesses/your-tax-rates.
Employers may “buy down” their chargebacks and achieve a tax rate reduction using the steps outlined on the TWC website at https://twc.texas.gov/voluntary-contribution-program. That page has a link to the Unemployment Tax Services online portal at https://twc.texas.gov/businesses/unemployment-tax-services, where there is a tab for using an estimator to determine whether and how much to pay toward such a reduction.
By Tommy Simmons
Senior Legal Counsel to Commissioner Aaron Demerson