CONCORD, NH - Non-compete clauses needlessly limit low-wage workers. They do not protect workers, they limit worker mobility, negotiation power, and depress wages, without any added security to businesses beyond intimidating workers to stay in worse employment situations. Legislation banning non-compete clauses is gaining traction nationwide in an effort to strengthen labor freedom. A bill limiting non-compete clauses for physicians passed with bipartisan support in 2016, but when it came to similar protections for low-wage workers in New Hampshire through SB 423 Republicans suddenly opposed them.
Principles of free labor are good for workers. Labor freedom is especially important for low-wage workers who need that freedom to compensate for limited upward mobility in some jobs or to seek more gainful employment. These generally are not employees that have trade secrets or similar knowledge that could make their employment at another business detrimental to the original employer.
Senate Democrats sponsored SB 423 to protect labor freedom for New Hampshire. Workers gain freedom, better pay, and more opportunities from limiting non-compete clauses. There is bipartisan support for limiting non-compete clauses, but when it comes to protecting low-wage workers suddenly every single Republican opposed labor freedom and voted to kill the bill.
Should low-wage workers have to sign non-compete agreements?
For American workers, noncompete agreements are pervasive – and might hold down their wages
NH Legal Perspectives: Are employee noncompete agreements worth the paper they're written on?