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In situations like this you already have a job lined up that you are going to. Since they must pay you, it's up to your old employer to make a business case for themselves that it is in their best interest to pay you rather than just letting you get on with your new job. When employers have skin in the game, it is almost always better to let the employee go. The problem with most non-competes these days is that it costs employers nothing to enforce them. In this scenario that is not the case. Not only do you have a job waiting for you at the end of it but it signals that you were so crucial to your employers near term competitive advantage that they were forced to pay you to sideline you.

Also in this scenario, employers generally won't make you sit out for the full length of the non-compete. They may have you sit out for a few months until the critical product you were working on launches and they can claim first mover advantage, etc. Since it is now a business case, it generally makes no sense to make old employees sit idle for a year.

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