Additional Time Provided To Submit Comments on Noncompete Rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is giving the public until April 19th to file comments on the proposed rule that would ban noncompete agreements. In Congress, bipartisan legislation has been introduced prohibiting the use of post-employment non-compete agreements. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) has rescinded the religious exemption rule for federal contractors and subcontractors. The 32 hour workweek bill has been reintroduced in Congress and is part of the growing global four-day workweek movement. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released performance statistics for the previous fiscal year.

Noncompete Rule Comment Period Extended – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has extended the comment period from March 20th to April 19th on its proposed rule that would ban noncompete agreements. According to the FTC, the proposed rule would apply to employees, independent contractors, and volunteers. Existing noncompete agreements would need to be rescinded and workers informed that they are no longer in effect. The FTC noted that the proposed rule would make it illegal for an employer to:

  • enter into or attempt to enter into a noncompete agreement with a worker;
  • maintain a noncompete agreement with a worker; or
  • represent to a worker, under certain circumstances, that the worker is subject to a noncompete agreement.


In Congress, the Workforce Mobility Act (H.R. 731, S. 220) has been reintroduced by a bipartisan group of members of Congress and would prohibit the use and enforcement of post-employment non-competition agreements. The bill had been introduced in previous sessions of Congress. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), one of the sponsors of the legislation noted that noncompete agreements are bad for: wage growth, innovation, and both low and high-income workers. The bill would authorize the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Labor and state Attorneys General to investigate and enforce the law. A private right of action that would allow individuals to file lawsuits also would be established. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Education and the Workforce.  


DOL Rescinds Federal Contractor Religious Exemption Rule – The US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) announced the recission of a rule entitled “Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemptions” concerning federal contractors that has been in effect since January 8, 2021. The rescission will be effective on March 31, 2023.


The OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal government contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against employees and requires the inclusion in contracts and subcontracts of an equal opportunity clause, which specifies the nondiscrimination and affirmative action obligations each contractor or subcontractor assumes as a condition of its government contract or subcontract. The Executive Order includes a limited exemption for certain religious organizations that is based on the religious exemptions included in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The rule that was modified effective in January 2021 included definitions of several terms and established a rule of construction, “specifying that the subpart must be construed in favor of the broadest protection of religious exercise” allowed by law and the Constitution.

According to the DOL, this recission “ensures a return to the department’s prior policy and practice in place during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama – of interpreting and applying the religious exemption in Executive Order 11246 consistent with Title VII principles and case law.”

Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Bill Reintroduced – Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) has reintroduced the Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act (H.R. 1332) that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours per week. When fully implemented, the bill would require employers to pay overtime compensation after employees worked 32 hours during a week. According to Representative Takano, this bill “would improve the quality of life of workers, meeting the demand for a more truncated workweek that allows room to live, play, and enjoy life more fully outside of work.” The bill would reduce the standard workweek to 38 hours during the first year, 36 hours during the second year, 34 hours during the third year, and 32 hours after the third year.

There is a growing global four-day workweek movement. The largest four-day workweek pilot program was completed recently in Great Britain with almost 3,000 employees from 61 companies participating. Of the participating companies, 56 said they would continue to implement four-day workweeks, with 18 saying the change would be permanent. Only three companies said they would not continue with a four-day workweek while two decided to extend the pilot program. Employees identified benefits from the four-day workweek that included lowered stress, improved personal lives and mental health. The participating companies reported revenues remained the same during the trial, but rose about 35% when compared to a similar period from prior years. Companies also reported decreased resignations. The advocacy group  4 Day Week Global is leading this effort.


EEOC Releases Performance Data – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released performance information for fiscal year 2022. During the fiscal year, the EEOC received 73,485 new discrimination charges – an increase of almost 20% over the previous fiscal year. The agency also handled more than 475,000 calls, which was an 18% increase and received 32% more emails from the public than the previous year. The EEOC added 352 new employees to its workforce. The agency obtained more than $513 million in monetary benefits for victims of discrimination and resolved over 65,000 charges of discrimination. During the fiscal year, the EEOC filed 91 employment discrimination lawsuits and resolved 96 employment discrimination lawsuits, obtaining almost $40 million in monetary relief for 1,461 individuals.

Neil Reichenberg is the former executive director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. He is an attorney, a frequent writer and speaker on public policy and human resource issues, and an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University. For questions or additional information, contact Reichenberg at