Compliance Watch:
What are my overtime rights in New Hampshire?

June 13th 2024

Overtime laws safeguard employees from exploitation and ensure fair working conditions. In New Hampshire, both state and federal laws govern overtime policies. Grasping these rules is essential so that you can receive the compensation you are owed for any work performed beyond standard hours.

This article delves into the legal framework, regulations, and common practices related to overtime in New Hampshire, answering frequently asked questions. By offering guidance on overtime rights, it aims to empower employees with the information they need to claim fair compensation for their work.

This Article Covers

Understanding Overtime in New Hampshire
Common Questions About Overtime in New Hampshire
Legal Working Hours in New Hampshire
Overtime Eligibility in New Hampshire
    Overtime Payment Calculations in New Hampshire
      Receiving Overtime Payment in New Hampshire
      Violations of Overtime Law in New Hampshire

      Understanding Overtime in New Hampshire

      Is overtime pay mandatory in New Hampshire?

      Yes, overtime pay is mandatory in New Hampshire. All employees must be compensated for overtime work, unless they are exempt. 

      Most New Hampshire employees are covered by the state overtime law, which, just like federal law, requires overtime compensation of 1.5 times an employee’s regular pay rate for any hours worked over 40 in a week. 

      When do I qualify for overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, you qualify for overtime pay if you are a non-exempt employee and you work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. The FLSA’s provisions generally cover most employers, mandating that they compensate eligible workers with time-and-a-half for all hours worked over 40 per week. Some employees, however, are exempt from these requirements based on their FLSA status.

      How much is overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, employees eligible for overtime are paid at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week. With the state’s minimum wage set at the federal level of $7.25 per hour, overtime compensation for minimum wage workers amounts to $10.88 per hour. This overtime provision is intended to protect employees from exploitation by ensuring they receive higher pay for extended work hours.

      Which laws govern overtime in New Hampshire?

      Overtime provisions in New Hampshire are covered by both federal laws and the state’s Minimum Wage Law. In cases where they differ, the law that is more favourable to the worker will be applicable. 

      Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

      • Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a given workweek.
      • Overtime pay amounts to one-and-a-half times the regular pay rate.
      • Work on weekends, nights, or holidays does not automatically count as overtime.
      • There are no restrictions on the number of hours an employer can request an employee to work.
      • The FLSA operates on a weekly basis, consisting of seven consecutive 24-hour periods. This schedule may not necessarily align with the traditional calendar week and can commence on any chosen day. Employers have the flexibility to establish different workweeks for their employees.

      Under the New Hampshire Minimum Wage law, certain employees at amusement, seasonal, or recreational establishments are exempt from state overtime pay if they meet specific criteria: 

      • Either the establishment operates for no more than seven months per calendar year;
      • Or its average receipts for any six months of the previous year are one-third or less of its average receipts for the other six months. Furthermore, the establishment must have earned at least 75% of its income within any six-month period of the preceding year, which need not be consecutive months. 

      Note that, despite these state exemptions, these employees may still be classified as non-exempt under federal law. 

      Further information about overtime in New Hampshire can be found in New Hampshire Overtime Laws.

      Common Questions About Overtime in New Hampshire

      Do employers have to pay overtime in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, the FLSA’s overtime rules apply to employers who have annual revenues of $500,000 or more, engage in interstate commerce, or operate as schools, hospitals, or emergency care facilities. Although it appears that these criteria exempt smaller businesses from having to pay overtime, the definition of “interstate commerce” is broad, extending federal overtime protections to most workplaces. Activities such as handling mail, processing credit card transactions, or using the telephone for business purposes are considered forms of interstate commerce by the courts, thus bringing many employees under these federal regulations.

      Can an employee refuse to work overtime in New Hampshire?

      As mandatory overtime, also known as “forced overtime,” is legal in New Hampshire, most employees cannot refuse to work over 40 hours. Employers can legally enforce mandatory overtime and may discipline employees who refuse. They even have the right to require overtime work without prior notice, with some exceptions. 

      For instance, nurses (registered, licensed practical, or nursing assistants) cannot be disciplined for refusing to work more than 12 consecutive hours, except in specific situations, including:

      • Nurses in surgery until it is completed.
      • Nurses in critical care until relieved by the next shift.
      • Nurses in home health care until relieved by another qualified nurse or caregiver.
      • During public health emergencies.
      • Nurses covered by a collective bargaining agreement addressing mandatory overtime.

      Unless one of the listed conditions apply, nurses who work more than 12 consecutive hours must get at least 8 consecutive hours off immediately following their overtime shift. Nurses may waive these protections through a written agreement with their employer, which can be revoked with 14 days’ notice.

      Can I take comp time instead of overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, compensatory time (“comp time”) is available only to public sector employees. Public employees can earn comp time under collective bargaining agreements that allow them to take time off in lieu of receiving overtime pay. 

      Specific rules govern the accumulation of comp time in New Hampshire: public safety and emergency response workers can accumulate up to 480 hours of comp time for 320 hours of overtime, while other public sector employees can accumulate up to 240 hours of comp time for 160 hours of overtime. If these limits are exceeded, the employee must be compensated monetarily for the extra hours at one-and-a-half times their regular rate. Additionally, all unused comp time must be paid out at the employee’s final regular rate upon the termination of employment.

      Can I get overtime pay in New Hampshire without employer approval?

      Yes, in New Hampshire, you are entitled to overtime pay without needing prior employer approval for the extra hours worked. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), any work that is “not requested but suffered or permitted” is considered compensable work time. This means that as long as the work is known or reasonably should have been known by the employer, it must be paid for. However, while you are entitled to the pay, working overtime without prior approval might lead to disciplinary actions based on company policies.

      Does New Hampshire have double-time pay?

      No, New Hampshire does not have a double-time pay rule. Neither state nor federal regulations require employers to pay double-time for any specific hours or days worked. Employers are at liberty to offer double-time as part of their compensation policies, but the legal requirement in the state is to pay employees 1.5 times their regular rate for any overtime work.

      What is working ‘off-the-clock’ in New Hampshire?

      “Off-the-clock” work refers to tasks performed outside of compensated hours, which do not count towards the calculation of overtime. Under the FLSA, “hours worked” encompasses all time an employee is required to be on duty, at the employer’s premises, or designated workplace, and any additional time permitted to work. 

      Common forms of off-the-clock work include unpaid setup or cleanup activities, post-shift duties, administrative tasks outside of work hours, redoing tasks without compensation, and waiting time between assignments. Despite seeming like non-work activities, they should legally contribute to wage calculations and be included in overtime compensation.

      What are common ways employers avoid paying overtime in New Hampshire?

      There are various ways that employers try to avoid paying overtime, many of them involving  deceptive tactics around time-tracking and employee classification, such as:

      1. Clocking Out Early: Employees may be instructed to clock out before they actually stop working, or to complete after-hours tasks without proper compensation.
      2. Misclassifying Employees: Some employers wrongly classify workers as independent contractors or as exempt based on job duties to bypass overtime laws.
      3. Averaging Hours Worked: This involves adjusting work schedules to average out hours over a pay period. For instance, an employee might work 48 hours one week and 32 the next, misleadingly reflecting two 40-hour weeks without overtime.
      4. ‘Off-the-Clock’ Work: Employers might require employees to perform work tasks such as setup or post-shift duties outside of paid hours, violating labor laws that mandate compensation for all hours worked.

      Can you work seven days in a row in New Hampshire?

      Yes, you can work seven days in a row in New Hampshire, but there are specific provisions under the state’s “day of rest” laws. According to state law, if an employee is required to work on a Sunday, they must be offered a 24-hour rest period within the following six days. This law does not necessarily prevent employees from working seven consecutive days, it only requires that they receive a day or rest within the specified timeframe. Violations of this requirement can result in a fine of up to $50. 

      Similarly, federal laws do not restrict the number of consecutive days an employee can work, as long as overtime laws are adhered to. Therefore, unless your employment contract says otherwise, you may be required to work seven days in a row in New Hampshire.

      How many ten-hour days can you work in a row in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, there is no daily overtime limit or cap on the number of hours adults can work. However, the state does mandate a “day of rest” for employees working on a Sunday. These employees must receive a 24-hour rest period within the following six days, which limits the number of consecutive 10-hour days they can work. 

      There are also additional restrictions for minors regarding the number of hours they can work in a day or week. These rules vary by age and whether school is in session. For example, minors aged 14-15 can work up to 23 hours per school week, and up to 40 hours per week when school is out. For those aged 16 and 17, during school terms, they are restricted to working outside school hours and no more than 30 hours a week. 

      What are full-time hours in New Hampshire?

      The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets the threshold for full-time employment at 30 hours per week (or at least 130 hours per month) specifically for determining eligibility for health care benefits under the law. 

      On the other hand, the New Hampshire Employment Security sets full-time employment as working more than 35 hours per week. In New Hampshire, both definitions of full-time employment can be considered correct, but they apply in different contexts. For ACA-related matters, the 30-hour rule applies, while for certain state-level employment issues in New Hampshire, the 35-hour definition may be relevant.

      How many hours straight can you legally work in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, there are no specific restrictions on the maximum number of hours an adult can work in a day, provided they are compensated for overtime when working more than 40 hours per week. However, certain regulated industries and rules for minors do have specific restrictions:

      • Transportation: Federal regulations, such as those for truck drivers regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), stipulate maximum driving hours to prevent fatigue. For instance, truck drivers are generally limited to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour work period, followed by 10 consecutive hours off duty.
      • Healthcare: Particularly for nurses and medical interns, there are restrictions to ensure patient safety and worker health. For example, medical residents may have an 80-hour weekly work limit, averaged over four weeks, and cannot work longer than 24-hour shifts.

      Minors in New Hampshire are subject to more specific restrictions, which vary by age:

      14 and 15-year-olds:

      • During school terms, they can work up to 3 hours on school days, 23 hours in school weeks, and 8 hours on non-school days.
      • When school is not in session, they can work up to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.
      • They are restricted to working between 7 AM and 7 PM, extended to 9 PM from June 1 through Labor Day.

      16 and 17-year-olds:

      • During school terms, they may work no more than 30 hours per week, and not during school hours.
      • At night, they can work up to 8 hours, with shifts in manufacturing capped at less than 10 hours.
      • When school is not in session, they may work up to 48 hours per week (54 hours in mechanical or manual labor) and no more than 6 consecutive days. Night work is limited to 8 hours, with the same cap on manufacturing shifts.

      Is overtime after eight hours or 40 hours in New Hampshire?

      Overtime compensation in New Hampshire is triggered by a weekly threshold of 40 hours, rather than by daily hours worked. Exceptions exist within the healthcare industry, specifically for hospitals and similar institutions caring for the sick, aged, or mentally impaired. These employers may use the “8 and 80” system, which calculates overtime based on an 80-hour, 14-day period. This system allows for overtime payments for shifts exceeding eight hours regardless of the total hours worked in a week. For instance, an employee working a 10-hour shift would earn two hours of overtime for that shift alone under this system. However, under the same system, an employee could be scheduled to work up to ten consecutive eight-hour days without triggering overtime, provided the total does not exceed 80 hours in the 14-day period.

      Does working on the weekend qualify for overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, working on the weekend does not automatically qualify for overtime pay. Overtime pay is determined based on hours worked over 40 in a single workweek, regardless of whether those hours are on weekdays or weekends. Therefore, unless working on the weekend brings the total hours for the week to more than 40, it does not trigger overtime compensation under both state and federal laws.

      There is, however a specific rule related to working on Sundays, known as the “day of rest” law. This law stipulates that if an employee is required to work on Sunday, they must be given a consecutive 24-hour rest period within the following six days.

      How many hours-off between shifts is required in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, there is no law that requires a minimum number of hours-off between shifts for most employees, except the “day of rest” rule. Under this law, employers must be granted a 24-hour rest period, within 6 days following work on a Sunday. However, this doesn’t specifically mandate a rest period immediately following a shift, nor does it set minimum intervals between shifts on other days of the week. 

      Certain industries, like transportation, may have specific regulations requiring rest periods between shifts for safety reasons. Additionally, minors have restrictions on the number of hours they can work in a week: 14-15-year-olds can are restricted to 23 hours of work per school week, and up to 40 hours per week when school is out. Whereas minors aged 16-17 can work no more than 30 hours in a week during school terms. 

      What does ‘hours-worked’ include in New Hampshire?

      “Hours worked” encompasses all time an employee spends on duty or at a worksite, along with any additional time they are required or permitted to work. The following conditions apply to “hours worked”:

      • Work Not Requested: Any voluntary continuation of work, such as finishing tasks post-shift or correcting errors, must be compensated.
      • Waiting Time: This is considered work if the employee is “engaged to wait” (e.g., a secretary waiting for tasks), but not if they are merely “waiting to be engaged.”
      • On-Call Time: Employees are working if they must stay on the premises while on call; however, being on call at home generally isn’t counted as work unless the employee’s freedom is significantly restricted.
      • Rest and Meal Periods: Short rest periods (under 20 minutes) are typically paid and counted as work hours. Meal periods (30 minutes or more) aren’t compensated if the employee is completely relieved of duties.
      • Sleeping Time: If on duty for less than 24 hours, sleeping time is work time. For shifts of 24 hours or more, up to 8 hours of sleep can be excluded from hours worked if conditions for rest are met.
      • Lectures and Training: These are not considered work time if they meet certain conditions (outside normal hours, voluntary, not job-related, and no other work performed).
      • Travel Time: Normal home to work travel is not considered work time. However, travel that is part of the employee’s principal activities, like travel between job sites, and overnight travel during working hours is compensable.

      What is the most hours a salaried employee can work in New Hampshire? 

      There are no specific maximum or minimum hourly requirements for salaried employees in New Hampshire. Employers determine the working hours for salaried employees, who are generally expected to complete all tasks assigned to them as outlined in their employment contract. This contract sets the expectations and working hours, and employers are obligated to comply with these terms.

      What is the maximum number of hours an hourly employee can work in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, adult hourly employees aged 18 and above can work unlimited hours but must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. For minors, different restrictions apply based on age. During school terms, 14 and 15-year-olds can only work up to 23 hours per week and 3 hours on school days. When school is not in session, they are restricted to 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week when school is not in session. Minors aged 16-17, on the other hand, can work up to 30 hours per week during school terms, and 48 hours per week when school is not in session. 

      Overtime Eligibility in New Hampshire

      Who is eligible for overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, employees are categorized as either exempt or non-exempt from receiving overtime compensation. Non-exempt employees, who are often hourly workers in roles such as manual labor or customer service, are eligible for overtime pay. However, salaried workers or those who are paid on a piece rate basis can also be classed as non-exempt. 

      Exempt employees do not qualify for overtime regardless of the hours they work. Overtime entitlements are determined based on factors, such as an employee’s earnings and specific job duties. 

      Who is exempt from overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      To be exempt from overtime in New Hampshire, employees must pass three tests:

      • Salary Basis Test: Exempt employees must receive a consistent salary regardless of hours worked or quantity of work completed.
      • Salary Test: Exempt employees must earn a salary that meets the minimum requirement. In New Hampshire, the 2024 threshold is $684 per week or $35,568 annually.
      • Duties Test: Exempt employees’ primary job duties must involve administrative, professional, or executive tasks requiring discretion and independent judgment. The following is a more detailed description of exempt employees’ work duties:
        • Administrative Exemption:
          • Primary duty of office or non-manual work related to management or general business operations.
          • Exercises discretion and independent judgment on significant matters.
        • Professional Exemption:
          • Primary duty requires advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning, typically obtained through prolonged intellectual instruction.
          • Alternatively, work requiring invention, imagination, originality, or talent in an artistic or creative field.
        • Executive Exemption:
          • Primary duty of managing a business or department.
          • Regularly directs the work of at least two full-time employees.
          • Has the authority to hire or fire, or their input on such decisions is considered.

      In addition to these tests, employees who occupy the following roles are classified as exempt in New Hampshire: 

      • Household, domestic, and farm labor
      • Newspaper delivery
      • Summer camps
      • Golf and ski track maintenance
      • Seasonal, recreational, and amusement establishments (if operating less than seven months per year or meeting specific income criteria)

      Can salaried employees get overtime pay in New Hampshire?

      Yes, employees can be entitled to overtime pay even if they are not paid on an hourly basis. In New Hampshire, some salaried employees and employees paid on a piece-rate basis may qualify for overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the rules for overtime eligibility:

      • Exempt Salaried Employees: These employees are not entitled to overtime pay, regardless of the hours worked in a week. To be classified as exempt, they must meet specific criteria regarding job duties, a minimum salary threshold, and be categorized in roles such as executive, administrative, or professional.
      • Non-Exempt Salaried Employees: These employees are eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime rate is typically at least 1.5 times their regular hourly rate, calculated based on their salary and hours worked.

      Overtime Payment Calculations in New Hampshire

      What is my regular rate of pay in New Hampshire?

      The regular rate of pay in New Hampshire is the compensation an employee receives for each hour worked and must be at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

      Included in Calculating Regular Pay Rate:

      • Hourly rates
      • Salary rates
      • Piece rates and flat rates
      • Commissions
      • Non-discretionary bonuses (e.g., performance-based bonuses)

      Excluded from Calculating Regular Pay Rate:

      • Discretionary bonuses (e.g., holiday bonuses)
      • Tips and service charges
      • Reimbursements
      • Paid time off

      To determine your regular rate of pay:

      Hourly Employees: Your regular rate of pay is your normal hourly wage.

      Salaried Employees:

      1. Multiply the monthly salary by 12 to get the annual salary.
      2. Divide the annual salary by 52 (weeks) to find the weekly salary.
      3. Divide the weekly salary by 40 hours to determine the regular hourly rate.

      Piecework or Commission Employees:

      1. Use the piece or commission rate.
      2. Divide the amount earned in a workweek by the number of hours worked.
      3. For group work, calculate the group rate by dividing the total number of pieces by the number of individuals, then multiply by the hours worked by each individual.

      How do you calculate overtime in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, state and federal laws mandate that overtime compensation be 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay rate, known as ‘time and a half’. Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a single workweek. To calculate overtime pay:

      1. Calculate the employee’s regular rate of pay.
      2. Multiply this rate by 1.5 to get the hourly overtime rate.
      3. Multiply the overtime rate by the number of overtime hours worked in the workweek to determine the total overtime pay owed.

      How is overtime taxed in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, overtime pay is subject to standard income tax rates, without any additional tax specifically for overtime. Your tax liability is determined by your tax bracket, which is based on your taxable income and filing status.

      However, if overtime earnings significantly increase your total income, you may move into a higher tax bracket. As a result, you will owe higher taxes on your entire income, not just the overtime pay. Note that the move to a higher tax bracket is temporary and only impacts the specific pay period when the extra income was earned.

      Receiving Overtime Payment in New Hampshire

      How is overtime paid in New Hampshire?

      In New Hampshire, overtime wages are paid using the same method as regular wages. Employers can pay employees in cash, by checks that can be fully negotiated at a convenient financial institution, or through direct deposit and electronic paycards. Employers must also provide employees with a written statement of all deductions, including taxes, insurance premiums, charitable contributions, and other legitimate deductions from gross wages.

      When do I receive my overtime paycheck in New Hampshire?

      Under the New Hampshire Pay Frequency Law, employers in the state can choose to pay employees either weekly or biweekly. Employees should receive overtime paychecks on their regular payday for the pay period in which the overtime wages were earned, as per the FLSA. For those paying weekly, wages must be paid within eight days following the end of the work week. Biweekly wages must be paid within 15 days after the expiration of the work week.

      Violations of Overtime Law in New Hampshire

      What if my employer refuses to pay me overtime in New Hampshire?

      If your employer isn’t paying your earned wages correctly and on time, you should request the correction in writing. It may simply be an error, in which case your employer will likely resolve it. If they do not, this refusal can support your future wage claim. Under New Hampshire law, statutory penalties may apply—10% of the unpaid wages each day for up to ten days, potentially doubling your claim—if your employer willfully withholds wages without good cause. To reclaim missing overtime wages, employees can:

      What is the penalty for failing to pay overtime in New Hampshire?

      Employers who intentionally or repeatedly violate the FLSA by not paying the correct overtime wages may face several penalties:

      • Civil penalties up to $1,000 for each violation.
      • Criminal charges for intentional violations, with fines up to $10,000.
      • Imprisonment for repeated violations.

      Besides penalties, the FLSA may require employers to pay up to double the amount of unpaid wages and cover legal fees. Employees owed overtime may receive back pay (up to three years), liquidated damages (often double or triple the wages owed), and attorney fees and costs.

      How can I file a wage claim for overtime in New Hampshire?

      Employees in New Hampshire have 36 months to file a wage claim for unpaid wages, per RSA 275:51 V. To file a wage claim, employees must complete and submit a Wage Claim form to the New Hampshire Department of Labor using one of these options:

      1. Use the Wage Claim Web Form.
      2. Complete the Wage Claim form and return it via mail, fax, or email.

      Alternatively, employees can file a wage claim with the US Department of Labor (DOL) to recover unpaid overtime wages by:

      1. Collecting relevant information and evidence.
      2. Completing an online form or contacting the helpline at 1-866-487-9243.
      3. Working with the assigned DOL representative to determine the best course of action.

      Can employers retaliate against employees for making a wage claim in New Hampshire?

      Under the federal FLSA, it is unlawful to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint.” If an employee experiences retaliation, such as being fired or demoted, for filing a claim or participating in an investigation, they should file a retaliation complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL. 

      Learn more about New Hampshire Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

      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.