Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as an hourly employee in New Hampshire?

April 9th 2024

It is crucial to acknowledge that your hourly employment rights go beyond mere legal requirements; they act as the building blocks for your professional growth and instill the confidence that is needed to navigate your career path.

The income you earn while clocking in and out each day significantly influences your standing in the workforce. As employment laws and policies differ from one state in the U.S. to another, you might find yourself wondering about your specific employment entitlements to ensure compliance with your state’s regulations.

Thus, this article is meticulously written to address your inquiries on various employment aspects, and to grant you the pertinent information to guarantee the protection of your legal rights throughout your employment.

This Article Covers

Defining an Hourly Employee in New Hampshire
Wage and Hour Regulations in New Hampshire 
Rest Laws in New Hampshire
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in New Hampshire 
Termination of Employment in New Hampshire

Defining an Hourly Employee in New Hampshire

What is Hourly Employment in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, hourly employment refers to the earnings that correspond to the hours worked in a specific pay period, causing fluctuations in income from one paycheck to the next. 

To guarantee fair payment for hourly employees, tools for tracking their working hours are often used. In contrast, salaried employees earn a fixed annual salary regardless of their actual work hours. 

Additionally, hourly workers are more likely to qualify for overtime compensation, but they may receive fewer employment benefits, like health insurance or pension benefits, in contrast to salaried employees.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in New Hampshire?

Aspect Hourly Employees Salaried Employees
Compensation Paid on an hourly basis. Paid on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis.
Minimum Wage Qualified to earn the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 set by the state’s minimum wage laws. May not be qualified to earn the minimum hourly wage of $7.25 if they are categorized as exempt under federal law.
Overtime Pay Qualified to earn $10.88 for every hour worked overtime in compliance with the overtime regulations set by federal law. May not be qualified to earn $10.88 for every hour worked overtime if they are categorized as exempt under federal law.
Employment Benefits May enjoy fewer job entitlements (such as health insurance or retirement plans). May have more job entitlements (such as health insurance or retirement plans).
Rest and Meal Breaks They are entitled by state law to receive a 30-minute meal break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. They are entitled by state law to receive a 30-minute meal break for every 5 consecutive hours of work.
Compensation Stability Compensation earned may not be unstable as it may fluctuate based on the actual hours worked. Compensation earned is fixed and stable as it is not based on the actual hours worked.

To learn more about New Hampshire labor laws, you can access our informative guides on understanding the rights of salaried employees in New Hampshire and how to run payroll in New Hampshire.

Wage and Hour Regulations in New Hampshire

What are the Maximum Weekly Working Hours in New Hampshire?

While federal and state labor laws do not specify the required weekly work hours for an employee, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates employees to be compensated at a wage rate of 150% of their regular hourly wage for any hours worked over 40 per week.

What is the Minimum Wage for Hourly Employees in New Hampshire?

The term minimum wage is identified as the lowest amount of money a person can receive for each hour of work they put in. Federal wage laws are overseen by the Fair Labor Standards Act, but each state in the U.S. has the flexibility to set its minimum wage, which can be higher than the federal requirement. New Hampshire is among the many states that adhere to the federal minimum wage guidelines.

In line with this, New Hampshire’s minimum wage is identical to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Therefore, an hourly employee in New Hampshire is expected to earn $290 in every 40-hour workweek.

Do All Employees Earn the Minimum Wage in New Hampshire?

While some employees are legally entitled to the state’s minimum wage, it is worth acknowledging that federal and state labor laws exempt certain types of employees from earning the state’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. These particular exempt employees are as follows:

  • Tipped Employees
  • Full-time students
  • Employees below the age of 20
  • Outside salespeople
  • Newspaper delivery men
  • Household labor, domestic labor, and farm labor employees
  • Minors who work and depend on their parents, grandparents, or a person or persons in place of their parents or grandparents
  • A spouse who works for another spouse voluntarily
  • Federal employees
  • Employees engaged in the work of shoe-shining
  • Agricultural employees
  • Non-professional ski patrolmen
  • Golf caddies
  • Youth summer camp employees
  • Administrative, executive, or professional employees
  • Employees who are computer professionals

How Many Hours Qualify As Overtime and What is the Associated Pay in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, the Fair Labor Standards Act specifies that any hours worked over 40 hours a week are considered overtime hours for which an employee must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times their standard hourly wage for every hour worked overtime. As a result, an hourly employee in New Hampshire typically receives $10.88 for each hour of overtime they put in.

Do All Employees Earn Overtime Pay in New Hampshire?

Apart from the previously mentioned exempt employees, the following categories of employees are specifically exempt from earning overtime compensation under New Hampshire’s statutory laws:

  • Any individual, partnership, association, corporation, person or group of persons, or similar unit if 80% of the persons employed by him or her are subject to any federal act relating to maximum hours and overtime compensation.
  • Employees of a commercial whitewater outfitter who work less than seven months in any single calendar year.
  • Seasonal employees of an amusement park who work less than seven months in any single calendar year.

Rest Laws in New Hampshire

What are the Offered Meal and Rest Breaks for Hourly Employees in New Hampshire?

In the state of New Hampshire, employees must be given a 30-minute meal break if they are scheduled to work for more than 5 consecutive hours a day. If the employer does not allow the employee to take this 30-minute meal break and the employee has to work and eat at the same time, the labor laws of New Hampshire require employers to compensate employees in such instances. Additionally, every seven days, employees must be given a minimum of 24 consecutive hours off from work.

While New Hampshire does not have specific laws of its own that regulate breastfeeding breaks for employees who are nursing mothers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates employers to provide employees with reasonable time to express milk in a clean, private, non-restroom place up until one year after delivering their baby.

What Laws Govern Time Off and Leaves for Hourly Employees in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, federal and state laws grant employees specific rights and safeguards concerning leaves of absence. These regulations are intended to ensure that employees can take time away from work for various reasons without jeopardizing their employment status. New Hampshire’s leave of absence laws are designed to assist and protect employees who need time off from work for personal reasons such as family emergencies, personal health concerns, pregnancy, or caring for a new child.

There are leave of absence laws in New Hampshire that are implemented to address the specific needs of individuals for taking time off. Some of the key statutes governing leave of absence in New Hampshire include

  • Crime victim leaves: Employees (or their immediate family members) who are crime victims must be given leave for their preparation and attendance of criminal proceedings unless taking such leave would cause undue hardship upon the business operations of the employer. Interestingly, employees can be required to utilize their accrued paid vacation time, personal leave, or sick leave for crime victim leave.
  • Military leave: Employees in New Hampshire cannot be terminated or discriminated against by their employers based on their National Guard membership or for their decision to take military leave. Furthermore, an employer is prohibited from threatening or taking any adverse employment actions against an employee to dissuade them from joining the military.
  • Jury duty leave: While employers are not required to pay employees for the time they have spent serving on a jury, employees cannot be punished in any way in their employment for responding to a jury summons.
  • Family and Medical Leave: The federal provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offer employees 12 weeks of unpaid annual leave to address matters concerning serious medical conditions of the employee or their immediate family member, the birth or adoption of a child, or certain military activities. However, for an employee to be able to use this leave, they must:
    • They have worked under the same employer for at least 12 months before using their leave.
    • Have worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours within those 12 months of employment under the same employer.
    • Be employed by an employer that has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in West Virginia

What are the Laws Regarding Pay Deductions for Hourly Employees in New Hampshire?

It is important to note that your employer can deduct a portion of your wages for various reasons, including taxes, garnishments, and benefits such as health insurance. However, due to the intricate structure of payroll deductions and the potential for unauthorized wage withholdings, federal and state laws have been introduced to safeguard your earnings from improper deductions.

In New Hampshire, the statutory laws dictate that an employer can only deduct from an employee’s paycheck if:

  • They have been permitted by law to do so.
  • The employee has given written consent, and the consent covers any one of the following items which include: union dues, healthcare and retirement contributions, charitable contributions, payments to a bank account held by someone other than the employee, vehicle use, child care, parking fees, loan repayment to employer, accidental wage overpayment, educational payments, gym or fitness center memberships, additional reasons agreed upon by the employer and employee.

Furthermore, New Hampshire laws prohibit deductions from an employee’s wages if it is used to cover items that include: cash shortages, broken, damaged, or stolen company property, returned checks, required uniforms, or tools.

In addition, it is important to highlight that the Department of Labor has forbidden employers from making any deductions in wages that would cause an employee to earn less than the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 during a specific pay period.

What are the Provided Hourly Employees Entitlements Under New Hampshire State Law?

The granting of employment entitlements is of significant importance in establishing economic equality and the safeguarding of an employee’s well-being in the workplace. Many U.S. states have enacted various laws that uphold the employment rights of individuals throughout their tenure. The list below states the various kinds of privileges that an hourly employee is entitled to according to the progressive laws established by the state of New Hampshire:

  • Minimum wage: The minimum wage laws of the state grant employees the entitlement to earn the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. 
  • Overtime: The federal labor law grants non-exempt employees the legal entitlement to earn overtime compensation for working any hours that exceed 40 hours in a week at an hourly pay rate fixed at one and a half times their regular hourly pay.
  • Worker’s compensation insurance: All private and public employers in the state must comply with the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Act. Employees who have sustained employment-related injuries and/or diseases arising out of and in the course of their employment may be qualified to receive various kinds of benefits under the Act. Employees must be sure to promptly report any workplace injury they have sustained to prevent a denial of benefits offered by the Act. 
  • Unemployment insurance benefits: Individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are actively seeking new career opportunities or awaiting recall by their employer may be qualified to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Employers are solely responsible for funding this coverage.
  • Extended health insurance benefits: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that permits the extension of health insurance benefits after an individual has been terminated from their employment. However, because the federal Act only applies to employers with 20 or more employees, New Hampshire has enacted its version of the Act which provides employees with the entitlement to lengthen their health insurance coverage for up to 18 months. Every certification of coverage and summary plan description must include a notice of the right to extend coverage. Employers should notify the insurer of an employee as soon as a triggering event takes place.
  • Statement of Wages: According to New Hampshire’s statutory laws, an employee must be given an itemized statement outlining the deductions made from their wages.
  • Access to personnel files: New Hampshire employees who request their employers to inspect their personnel files must be granted the right to such access.

What are the Provided Hourly Employee Protections Under New Hampshire State Law?

New Hampshire abounds with various laws that are designed to protect employees in various aspects of their employment in order to uphold their rights of being treated fairly and with respect. Let us now take a look at some of the extensive protections that hourly employees in New Hampshire are legally entitled to.

  • Employee monitoring protection: New Hampshire is recognized as an “all parties” consent state. This means that every individual joining a phone call must be made aware that they are being monitored or recorded and have consented to this by placing or continuing the phone call.  Furthermore, employers in the state can only listen to, record, use, or reveal their employees’ phone conversations if all the parties to the communication have given their consent.
  • Discrimination protection: The federal anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on their race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, genetic information, including family medical history, physical or mental disability, child or spousal support withholding, military or veteran status, citizenship and/or immigration status. In addition to these protected characteristics, New Hampshire also prohibits discrimination based on marital status, domestic violence victim status, or the consumption of tobacco outside of work.
  • Shift scheduling protection: In New Hampshire, while it is not required for an employer to make flexible work adjustments for an employee based on their request, it is forbidden for employers to retaliate against employees who make such requests.
  • Whistleblower protection:  An employee cannot be discharged or discriminated against by their employers for doing any one of the following activities: filing a report for what they reasonably believe is a violation of state or federal law or rule; rejecting to partake in an activity that they reasonably believe is a violation of state and federal law; taking part in an investigation that concerns an alleged legal violation.
  • Social media information protection: New Hampshire employers are prohibited from;
    • Requiring an employee or job applicant to reveal their login credentials to grant the employer access to their account.
    • Coercing an employee or applicant to add an individual, including the employer or the employer’s agent, to their personal account’s contact list.
    • Requiring an employee to lower the privacy settings of their account, would result in changing a third party’s ability to view the account’s content.
    • Taking or threatening to take disciplinary actions against an employee for objecting to complying with the employer’s requests in this matter.

Termination of Employment in New Hampshire

What are the Termination Laws for Hourly Employees in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, similar to many other U.S. states, complies with the at-will doctrine concerning employment relationships. Under this doctrine, employers and employees have the flexibility to terminate the employment relationship at their own free will at any time and without having to provide any justifiable reason for doing so. While this legal concept generally takes effect, federal and state laws have established specific exceptions that restrict the broad application of this doctrine and highlight circumstances that may amount to wrongful termination. These exceptions include the following:

  • Breach of contract: Employees who enter into an employment contract are usually not regarded as at-will employees. These contracts usually dictate the duration of employment and what grounds may justify an employee’s termination. If these contractual terms are found to be violated, the employee may file a claim for breach of contract against the employer. The same rules apply to the violation of company policies established in the employee handbook. 
  • Public policy: Employers are forbidden from firing employees for engaging in activities that are endorsed by public policies. For example, it is permitted by law for employees to report unsafe working conditions. Hence, an employer cannot terminate an employee for making such reports to the government as it is recognized by public policy.
  • Retaliation: Employees are safeguarded from being terminated in retaliation for exercising their rights following federal and New Hampshire laws. Therefore, an employer is prohibited from firing an employee if they have filed a complaint, refused to take part in an unlawful activity, or partaking in an investigation into the company or giving testimony. Additionally, employees are also protected from retaliation for participating in protected activities such as taking crime victim leaves when appropriate, child care licensing, asbestos management, and more.
  • Discrimination: Federal and state laws make it illegal for employers to terminate employees based on their protected characteristics. According to federal law, these anti-discrimination rules only apply to employers with a specific number of employees. Employers must have a minimum of 20 employees for age discrimination laws to apply, 4 employees for citizenship claims, and a minimum of 15 employees for other types of discrimination. In New Hampshire, the state law prohibits discrimination against employees based on their sex, religion, age, race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or marital status for employers with at least six employees.

Additionally, the laws of New Hampshire require that employees who are terminated or who resign must be given their final paycheck within 72 hours of their departure. However, if an employee does not give at least one pay cycle’s notice of their resignation, they must then be issued their final paycheck by the next regularly scheduled payday.

Should Severance Pay Be Provided to Hourly Employees in New Hampshire?

Severance pay, a form of financial package provided by employers to departing employees, is an imperative means of financial support for an unemployed individual as they transition between jobs and search for new employment opportunities. The precise amount is usually determined based on the employee’s length of service with the company, typically amounting to one week’s salary for each year worked.

Although severance pay serves as a valuable employment benefit, it’s crucial to note that federal and state laws do not require its provision. Instead, it depends on the mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. Consequently, if the employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement explicitly enforces severance pay, the employer is obligated to provide such payments to prevent potential breach of contract claims being filed against them.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, it is evident why possessing a strong grasp of your rights as an hourly employee is immensely imperative. Being informed about laws surrounding termination, wage payment, leaves, employment benefits, and protections not only keeps you well-equipped to safeguard your well-being in instances of workplace infringements but also guarantees you stay ahead of the curve.

Due to the ever-changing structure of employment laws, keeping up to date with recent legal advancements in the employment field is equally essential, as this information is vital for making well-informed choices throughout the duration of your employment.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.