Employment Law and Regulatory Changes in 2024

André Moore
Associate Editor
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD ‘25


Employment law, an essential aspect of regulatory compliance, is the foundation for the legal relationship between employers and employees. Marked by significant regulatory changes aimed at enhancing worker protections, ensuring fair compensation, and promoting a safe and equitable workplace. These updates span various areas of employment, including adjustments to minimum wage rates, the introduction of stricter safety and anti-discrimination measures, and revisions to family and medical leave benefits. Additionally, there's a growing emphasis on pay transparency and the regulation of non-compete clauses to foster a more competitive and open labor market.


Wage and Hour Laws

Several states have recently announced an increase in their minimum wage rates to better support workers and improve their living standards. For instance, New York State's minimum wage will be raised from $14.20 to $15.00 per hour, while New York City will see an increase from $15.00 to $16.00 per hour. Similarly, the minimum wage in Maryland will rise to $15.00 per hour and New Jersey to $15.13 per hour. These adjustments reflect a broader trend toward ensuring that workers earn a living wage that matches the cost of living in their respective areas. 


Furthermore, the Department of Labor is proposing significant changes to the salary-level requirements for white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed changes would increase the standard salary level for executive, administrative, and professional employees from $35,568 annually to $55,068 annually. This change, expected to be finalized in April 2024, could extend overtime pay eligibility to millions of additional workers.


Workplace Safety and Anti-discrimination

To improve workplace safety, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has expanded its requirements for employers in high-hazard industries to submit injury and illness data. This new policy became effective on January 1, 2024. The aim is to increase transparency and accountability, which are crucial in identifying and mitigating workplace hazards. Ultimately, this will lead to safer work environments for employees by ensuring employers are taking the correct measures to prevent injuries and other accidents from occurring in the workplace.


Furthermore, there have been efforts to protect workers from unfair contract provisions, such as non-compete clauses. For example,  California has recently prohibited non-compete agreements and mandated that employers inform employees that such contracts are void. This is part of a broader movement towards ensuring employees can move between jobs without undue restrictions. This approach fosters a more dynamic and competitive labor market by not restricting employees with different forms of expertise and skills from moving on to different companies.  



Improved Family and Medical Leave

Recent legislative updates have introduced significant developments to family and medical leave provisions in several states, reflecting a growing recognition of the importance of work-life balance and the need for supportive workplace policies. For instance, in Massachusetts, starting last month (January 1, 2024), there were increases in both the Paid Family Leave contribution rate and the maximum weekly benefit. This adjustment aims to support employees more substantially during family or medical leave, ensuring they have the financial security to take necessary time off​​. Maryland has also announced changes, with the Family and Medical Leave Insurance contribution rate set at 0.9% starting October 1, 2024. This new rate is designed to offer a more robust safety net for workers facing family or medical issues, requiring employee and employer contributions to support the system​​. These updates signify a crucial step towards recognizing and addressing the needs of workers dealing with personal or family health matters, aiming to reduce the financial stress associated with taking unpaid leave.


Pay Transparency and Non-compete Clauses

Another area of notable progress in employment law is the push towards greater pay transparency and the regulation of non-compete clauses. New York State has introduced requirements for employers to disclose pay information in job advertisements, promotions, and transfer opportunities. This move towards pay transparency is intended to mitigate wage gaps and promote equity in the workplace by ensuring candidates and employees are informed about compensation levels​​.


Simultaneously, there is a significant shift in how non-compete agreements are viewed and regulated. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering rules to void existing non-compete agreements and prohibit future ones, aiming to improve labor market mobility and competition​​. States like California have already prohibited non-compete agreements, underscoring a nationwide trend toward ensuring employees can seek new opportunities without being unduly restricted by previous employers​​.


Why Regulatory Changes Are Important

I strongly support the regulatory changes and updates aimed at improving the protection and well-being of workers. The recent increase in minimum wage rates across several states is a positive step towards addressing income inequality and ensuring workers can maintain a decent standard of living. Additionally, the proposed adjustments to the FLSA's salary-level requirements for overtime pay eligibility represent a significant improvement in recognizing the modern economic realities workers face. It's also commendable to see the expansion of workplace safety requirements and the efforts to limit restrictive contract provisions like non-compete clauses. These changes promote a safer and more equitable workplace and support workers' rights to pursue new opportunities and contribute to their fields without undue hindrance.




The employment laws have advanced significantly in 2024. The increase in minimum wage, safety measures and anti-discrimination laws, improved family and medical leave benefits pay transparency, and the regulation of non-compete agreements all collectively represent a significant shift towards creating more equitable, safe, and supportive workplaces. These changes reflect society's push toward recognizing and addressing the evolving needs of the workforce. They also reflect the importance of regulatory frameworks in adapting to these changes to protect and empower workers.