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 law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. Employers must also allow employees to access their personnel files, protect whistleblowers and allow wage discussions. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • New Hampshire permits preemployment credit checks. 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, pay frequency, pay statement and wage deduction requirements. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under New Hampshire law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including pregnancy disability leave, crime victim leave, time off on Veterans Day, emergency responder leave and day of rest requirements. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • New Hampshire prohibits smoking in the workplace and using a hand-held cell phone while driving. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, New Hampshire employers must comply with applicable final pay and mass layoff notification requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including broader antidiscrimination protections and health care continuation coverage obligations for smaller employers, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as the minimum wage and occupational safety and health.

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:

Fair Employment Practices

The New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination (NHLAD) generally applies to an employer with six or more employees. The NHLAD prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics, such as:

  • Age;
  • Sex (including pregnancy);
  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Marital status;
  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Religious creed;
  • National origin (including ancestry);
  • Sexual orientation (real or perceived); and
  • Gender identity.

The NHLAD also prohibits terminating or otherwise retaliating against an individual who files a discrimination complaint or participates in any discrimination proceeding.

Equal Pay

New Hampshire's equal pay law generally prohibits an employer from discriminating between employees based on sex by paying employees of one sex at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the other sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility and that is performed under similar working conditions.

An employer may pay different wages based on:

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

Discussion of Wages

Under New Hampshire's equal pay law, an employer may not require that an employee refrain from disclosing the amount of his or her wages as a condition of employment. Additionally, an employer may not terminate, discipline or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses his or her wages, salary or paid benefits.

Access to Personnel Files

Current and former employees may request to review their personnel file. The employer must provide the employee with a reasonable opportunity to review the file. Employees also have the right to receive a copy of all or part of the file. The employer may charge a reasonable copying fee.

Whistleblower Protections

New Hampshire's Whistleblowers' Protection Act protects employees who, in good faith:

  • Report violations of any federal, state or local law;
  • Object to, or refuse to participate in, illegal activity;
  • Refuse to execute an illegal directive; or
  • Participate in a government investigation or hearing concerning allegations that the employer violated federal, state or local law.

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, HR Management: 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, EEO - Retaliation: Federal, HR Management: Federal and Employee Discipline: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Under New Hampshire's Fair Credit Reporting Act, an employer may obtain and use a consumer report to make hiring decisions. The employer must disclose in writing to the job applicant that a consumer report will be requested as part of the application process and must have the applicant's written permission to request the report. If the employer decides not to hire a job applicant based on information contained in a consumer report, it must advise the applicant of this and supply the name and address of the consumer reporting agency.

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 and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in 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 must 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 the employee can eat while working and the employer allows the employee 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 approved apprenticeship, vocational rehabilitation or training program.

Minors 16 or 17 years of age may work no more than:

  • Six consecutive days or 30 hours in a workweek during which school is in session for five days;
  • Six consecutive days or 40 and one-quarter hours in a workweek during which school is in session for four days; and
  • Six consecutive days or 48 hours in a workweek during which school is in session for more than one but fewer than four days or during school vacations, including summer vacation.

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, 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 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 continuation coverage under New Hampshire law or federal COBRA, but not both.

New Hampshire's 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.

Payment of Wages

An employer must pay employee's wages in cash, or by checks that are negotiable in full at a convenient financial institution where suitable arrangements have been made for check cashing. An employer may pay by direct deposit or electronic paycards if certain requirements are met.

Pay Frequency

An employer may pay wages on a weekly basis, or on a biweekly basis at regular intervals not exceeding 14 days. Employees paid on a weekly basis must be paid all wages due within eight days after the end of the workweek, and employees paid on a biweekly basis must be paid all wages due within 15 days after the end of the workweek.

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.

Wage Deductions

An employer may make deductions from employees' wages that are required by federal or state law; authorized or requested in writing by the employee; or for medical, surgical, or hospital care or service, without financial benefit to the employer.

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, Payment of Wages: New Hampshire and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in New Hampshire? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

New Hampshire has several laws relating to required time off and leaves of absence for employees. These laws include:

  • Pregnancy disability leave (covering employers with six or more employees);
  • Crime victim leave (covering employers with 25 or more employees);
  • Military leave;
  • Time off on Veterans Day;
  • Emergency responder leave;
  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Day of rest requirements.

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 time off and leave of absence 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, Hours Worked: 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, USERRA: Federal and Hours Worked: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key New Hampshire requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

An employer with four or more employees must comply with the Indoor Smoking Act. Certain workplaces must be smoke-free, while others have the option to have effectively segregated indoor smoking areas. An employer must prohibit indoor smoking altogether if it cannot be contained to a limited area. However, an employer is not required to provide or attempt to provide a segregated indoor smoking area.

An employer must have a written policy addressing smoking or nonsmoking provisions and post appropriate signage.

Safe Driving Practices

New Hampshire prohibits drivers from using any hand-held mobile electronic device for:

  • Talking;
  • Texting;
  • Emailing;
  • Accessing the internet; and
  • Programming a GPS or navigation device.

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 health and safety practices in New Hampshire can be found in the New Hampshire Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Employee Health: New Hampshire, HR and Workplace Safety: New Hampshire and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in New Hampshire? Federal requirements can be found in Employee Health: Federal and HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): 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. If an employee gives at least one pay period's notice of his or her intention to quit, all wages must be paid within 72 hours.

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

If an employee is suspended as a result of a labor dispute, or laid off for any reason, all wages must be paid by the next regular payday.

Upon termination, accrued vacation time must be paid according to the terms of any written or verbal agreement between the employer and the employee.

A deceased employee's wages of up to $300 may be paid to the following individuals in the order listed, if a proper demand for payment is made:

  • Spouse;
  • Adult children;
  • Parents;
  • Siblings;
  • Grandparents; or
  • The state if none of the above is alive.

Mass Layoff Notifications

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 qualifying layoff, reduction in force or plant closing.

Under the New Hampshire WARN Act, a mass layoff involves the termination of at least:

  • 250 full-time workers during a 30-day period; or
  • 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.