A quick guide to the new labor and employment laws of 2024

Labor and Employment 2024: What you need to know about the laws

The landscape of employment law compliance seems to be changing, with new employment laws being passed every year and even more changes to employment law expected in 2024, and perhaps even more in the upcoming election. Recent changes in the law have created new standards and practices for employers to follow. These changes are not necessarily historic, but in most cases reflect a shift toward protecting workers.

Labor law changes in the United States

Since 2024 is an election year and President Joe Biden is almost completely at odds with his Republican colleagues on a number of labor issues, labor and employment laws will be up for debate.

Biden ran a fairly pro-labor campaign in 2020 and has been pro-union ever since, as he has in recent decades, expanding the right of American workers to organize. In 2021, he signed an executive order banning or limiting non-competitive terms and unnecessary licensing requirements. In 2023, a number of new laws were enacted that will take effect in 2024 that will affect employers and workers in different ways.

Accident reporting

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) final rule on injury and illness reporting, which will go into effect in the new year, sets new recordkeeping and reporting standards for employers based on company size and industry affiliation.

As OSHA seeks to conduct strategic outreach and enforce OSHA standards in high-risk industries, the number of companies required to report injuries and illnesses electronically on Form 300A is growing. The final rule expands existing electronic recordkeeping requirements by requiring organizations with 100 or more employees at workplaces to submit 300 logs, related 301 incident reports, and annual summary data on Form 300A.

Workplaces with 20-249 employees, will be required to file annual summary data on Form 300A. Workplaces with 250 or more employees will continue to file annual summary data on Form 300A, regardless of industry affiliation. This requirement does not apply to certain low-risk industries, such as office work, retail clothing, and legal services. However, employers should check with their local counselor or OSHA's website to ensure compliance with the regulations. One of the best ways to ensure compliance is to continually check record keeping. Depending on the severity of a particular injury, there may be reporting requirements that require deadlines to be met. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines and further OSHA inspections.

What is OSHA?

Joint employer provisions

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) redefines joint employment and is enforced by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Under the regulations, two or more entities may be considered joint employers of a group of employees if each entity has an employment relationship with an employee and each entity jointly or individually determines one or more material terms and conditions of the employee's employment.

Material terms and conditions of employment include the following:

  • Wages, benefits, and other forms of compensation;
  • Working hours and schedule;
  • Duties and responsibilities;
  • Supervisory and reporting procedures;
  • The term of the employment contract, including rules on appointment and dismissal;
  • Rules concerning methods and techniques of work performance and grounds for disciplinary action;
  • Working conditions affecting employee health and safety.

Developing a forward-looking strategy

When the rule last went into effect, the number of lawsuits filed by the National Labor Relations Board against franchisees skyrocketed. Litigation costs and other expenses also skyrocketed. As a result, franchisors understandably became concerned that various forms of support for franchisees could become problematic. As a result, franchisors were forced to suspend some employment support for SME franchisees. As a result, SMEs have suffered.

Companies that have entered into an employment contract or other business agreement with another business in which one party has the right to assert policies regarding the other party's employees should contact an experienced employment lawyer to review the agreement.

Recruitment agencies and registered employers are also vulnerable to the risk of "domination" arising from standard employment contracts, where a third-party company assists the primary client and allows it to focus on its core functions, says Lotito. Such contracts are neither bad nor harmful. They are natural. But under the joint employer angle, the NLRB and other agencies view them as a conspiracy to deprive workers of their rights as employees and as human beings. To minimize the risk of joint employer recognition, the agreement should be renegotiated for the benefit of both parties. This may be sufficient to reduce the legal risks. Alternatively, one company may avoid being recognized as a joint employer by giving up sufficient control over the other company's employees.

What is the NLRA?


With the rise of unions and the resurgence of employee organizing, it is imperative that human resources and labor departments, in cooperation with legal counsel, take proactive steps in the area of employee relations to ensure that employees are satisfied with their working conditions and work environment.

Whether or not employees are union members, employers may have more collective bargaining responsibilities than previously thought and may be held liable for unfair labor practices against employees who were not previously considered employees.

The actual structure of the agreement and employment relationship should be analyzed with the assistance of qualified legal counsel to help evaluate acceptable risks and realistic business decisions, says Rotito. There is no single answer. Every organization is different. Given that we are in a highly regulated environment, more time and focus on creating and maintaining a seamless environment for employees is key to an organization's success.



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