Labor and Employment Law Overview: New Hampshire

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • New Hampshire prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees based on protected classes. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • New Hampshire requires background checks for certain positions, but limits genetic and AIDS testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In New Hampshire, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage, overtime, meal breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • New Hampshire has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits including health care continuation, how often employees must be paid and pay statement requirements. See Pay and Benefits.
  • A New Hampshire employer may be required to provide employees with certain leaves of absence including pregnancy disability leave, crime victim leave, emergency services leave and time off for jury duty. See Attendance and Leave.
  • In certain situations, a New Hampshire employer is required to provide notice of mass layoffs. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is considered both an employer- and an employee-friendly state. Some state laws will broaden an employee's rights; others are more restrictive than federal law.

Select New Hampshire employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination

The New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination (NHLAD) provisions generally apply to an employer with six or more employees and prohibits discrimination on the basis of:

  • Age;
  • Sex;
  • Color;
  • Marital status;
  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Religious creed;
  • National origin; and
  • Sexual orientation (real or perceived).

The NHLAD makes a number of discriminatory practices unlawful, such as:

  • Refusing to hire, discharge, or discriminate against in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
  • Failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for an applicant or employee who is a qualified individual with a disability.
  • Discharging or otherwise retaliating against an individual who files a complaint of discrimination or who participates in any proceeding.

Wage Discrimination

The New Hampshire Equal Pay Law prohibits an employer from discriminating on the basis of gender in the payment of wages for equal work. The law applies to all employers, with exceptions for certain categories of employees such as domestic workers and seasonal and temporary workers.

An employer may pay different wages when such differences are based on:

  • A seniority system;
  • A merit or performance-based system;
  • A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production;
  • Expertise;
  • Shift differentials; or
  • Demonstrable factors other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.

Under New Hampshire law an employer may not require that an employee refrain from disclosing the amount of his or her wages. Additionally, an employer may not terminate, discipline or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses his or her wages, salary or paid benefits. However, an employer may discipline employees who have access to wage information of other employees as a part of their job functions and improperly disclose such wage information.

Whistleblower Protection

New Hampshire's Whistleblowers' Protection Act protects employees who:

  • Report violations of any federal, state or local law;
  • Object to, or refuse to participate in, illegal activity;
  • Refuse to execute illegal directives; and
  • Participate in investigations or hearings.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in New Hampshire can be found in the New Hampshire Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Disabilities (ADA): New Hampshire, EEO - Discrimination: New Hampshire, EEO - Harassment: New Hampshire, EEO - Retaliation: New Hampshire, Employee Discipline: New Hampshire, New Hampshire Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in New Hampshire? Federal requirements can be found in Disabilities (ADA): Federal, EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal and Employee Discipline: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Background Checks

A New Hampshire employer may obtain and use arrest records when making hiring decisions. An employer may receive a copy of the criminal conviction records of an applicant, if the applicant has provided written authorization, signed and notarized, permitting the employer to receive the information.

In general, mandatory background checks are required for job applicants in areas where they will work closely, and perhaps unsupervised, with certain vulnerable populations such as children, the disabled, the elderly and the ill. Mandatory background checks are also required for employees who are in certain safety-sensitive positions and who have access to weapons.

Genetic Testing

An employer may not request, require or administer genetic testing to any individual as a condition of employment or offer prospective employees pay or benefits in exchange for taking a genetic test.

AIDS Testing

Mandatory AIDS testing is prohibited. An employer must obtain the informed consent of the individual to be tested.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in New Hampshire can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: New Hampshire. Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

New Hampshire's minimum wage is tied to the federal minimum wage. A separate minimum wage rate exists for employees who receive tips.

Overtime

Nonexempt employees should be paid at the rate of time-and-one-half for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in any one work week.

Meal Breaks

An employer may not require employees to work more than five consecutive hours without granting them a 30-minute lunch or eating period, unless it is feasible for employees to eat while working and the employer allows employees to do so.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in New Hampshire restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

Minors under 18 years of age may not be permitted to work in any hazardous occupation, except in an apprenticeship, vocational rehabilitation or training program approved by the Commissioner of Labor.

Minors 16 or 17 years of age who are enrolled in school may work:

  • No more than six consecutive days or 30 hours during the school week (Sunday through Saturday); and
  • No more than six consecutive days or 48 hours in any one week during school vacations, including summer vacation (June 1 through Labor Day).

Minors under 16 years of age may work:

  • No earlier than 7:00 a.m. or later than 9:00 p.m.;
  • No more than three hours per day on school days;
  • No more than 23 hours per week during school weeks;
  • No more than eight hours per day on nonschool days; and
  • No more than 48 hours per week during school vacations.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in New Hampshire can be found in the New Hampshire Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Minimum Wage: New Hampshire, Overtime: New Hampshire, Hours Worked: New Hampshire, Child Labor: New Hampshire and New Hampshire Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters. Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Overtime: Federal, Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

In New Hampshire health care continuation is generally available to individuals covered by an employer with two or more employees. Individuals covered by an employer with 20 or more employees may elect either New Hampshire continuation coverage or coverage under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), but not both.

New Hampshire's continuation coverage law provides a variety of continuation coverage periods generally ranging from 39 weeks to 36 months, depending on why coverage is lost. The law also contains special provisions for divorced or legally separated spouses.

Pay Frequency

An employee must be paid on a weekly basis, on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. An employer may pay wages less frequently if permitted by the Commissioner of Labor, but in no event may an employer pay employees less than once each calendar month.

Pay Statements

A New Hampshire employer must provide each employee with a statement of deductions made from his or her wages for each pay period in which deductions are made. Employees must acknowledge in writing that they have received notice of:

  • Their rate of pay or salary and the day and place of payment;
  • A description of employment practices and policies related to paid vacations, holidays, sick leave, bonuses, severance pay, personal days, payments of employee expenses, pensions, and all other fringe benefits; and
  • Any changes in rates of pay, salary, or employment practices or policies prior to the effective date of the change.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in New Hampshire can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): New Hampshire and Payment of Wages: New Hampshire. Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting attendance and leave are:

Pregnancy Disability Leave

New Hampshire requires an employer with six or more employees to permit female employees to take a leave of absence for the period of temporary disability resulting from pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Crime Victim Employment Leave

An employer with 25 or more employees must provide employees who are victims of certain crimes an unpaid leave so they can attend court or other legal or investigative proceedings related to the prosecution of the crime.

Employees are generally eligible for leave if one of the following applies:

  • The employee is a victim of the crime at issue in the proceedings; or
  • The victim is a minor, incompetent or was a homicide victim, and the employee is the father, mother, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, spouse, grandparent or legal guardian of the victim, or any person involved in an intimate relationship and residing in the same household with the victim.

Other Leave Laws Affecting New Hampshire Employers

A New Hampshire employer is also required to comply with additional leave laws, including:

  • Military leave;
  • Emergency services leave; and
  • Jury duty leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on attendance and leave practices in New Hampshire can be found in the New Hampshire Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Jury Duty: New Hampshire, Other Leaves: New Hampshire, USERRA: New Hampshire and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in New Hampshire? Federal requirements can be found in Jury Duty: Federal, Other Leaves: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Pay

An employee who quits or resigns must be paid all wages owed by the next regular payday, either through the employer's usual method of payment, or by mail if requested by the employee. If an employee gives at least one pay period's notice of his or her intention to quit, all wages earned by the employee must be paid within 72 hours.

Terminated employees must be paid all wages owed in full within 72 hours of discharge.

If an employee is suspended as a result of a labor dispute, or laid off for any reason, the employer must pay the employee in full for all wages earned at the time of the suspension or layoff, by the next regular payday, either through the employer's usual method of payment, or by mail if requested by the employee.

New Hampshire Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act

The New Hampshire Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires an employer with 100 or more full-time employees to provide 60 days' advance written notice before a layoff, reduction in force or plant closing.

Under the New Hampshire WARN Act, a mass layoff is defined as:

  • Termination of at least 250 full-time workers during a 30-day period; or
  • Termination of at least 25 full-time workers if they constitute one-third of the workforce.

A plant closing is a permanent or temporary shutdown resulting in at least 50 job losses.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in New Hampshire can be found in Payment of Wages: New Hampshire, Involuntary Terminations: New Hampshire, New Hampshire Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in New Hampshire? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Involuntary Terminations: Federal.