Guide to employee benefits and HR rules in New Hampshire
As a human resources professional or private employer with employees in New Hampshire, you need to know which employee benefits and policies the Granite State requires.
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Is your organization compliant with New Hampshire's employment and HR laws?
If you're based in or employ workers in New Hampshire, it's important to familiarize yourself with the state's benefits and HR compliance laws. This guide to HR laws in New Hampshire will provide a general overview of the laws you need to know.
Topics covered in this guide include:
What are an employee’s rights in New Hampshire?
State and federal laws protect employee rights. If you currently have or plan to hire workers in the state, you must know your employees’ rights.
Some New Hampshire-specific state rights include:
- At-will employment
- In New Hampshire, employment is "at-will," meaning either party can end the job without cause or notice unless there's an employment contract stating otherwise.
- Equal pay
- New Hampshire's equal pay law ensures that employers can't pay employees of one sex less than employees of the other sex for equal work.
- Whistleblower protection
- The New Hampshire Department of Labor protects employees under the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act. Employers can’t terminate, threaten, or discriminate against any employee for reporting violations, participating in a legal investigation, or refusing to participate in an illegal activity.
- Social media
- New Hampshire employers can't ask for personal social media info, such as usernames, passwords, and authentication information.
- Weapons in the workplace
- In New Hampshire, individuals can generally carry firearms without a permit, but employers can set their own rules about firearms at work, including banning them in cars on company property.
- The New Hampshire Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (NH WARN Act) mandates a 60-day notice for mass layoffs or plant closings to employees, their representatives, and various government officials.
- COVID-19 vaccines
- House Bill 1495 prohibits the state from requiring businesses to require vaccines or documentation related to vaccination or immunity status. Private employers can still mandate vaccines for employment, but they must abide by any Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules, including offering exemptions for religion and disabilities.
- Access to personnel files
- Employers in New Hampshire must allow employees to view and obtain copies of their personnel files upon request, with reasonable costs for copies.
What are employers required to provide to New Hampshire employees?
In addition to what federal law requires, New Hampshire employment law mandates that employers must provide eligible employees with specific employee benefits and accommodations.
Required benefits include:
- Court and jury duty leave
- Employers in New Hampshire must allow employees to attend court for jury summons and can't penalize or threaten them. However, employers aren't required to pay wages during jury duty.
- Emergency response leave
- In New Hampshire, employers must give employees in "first responder" situations a leave of absence. The Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness oversees this policy. It usually applies to medical personnel, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.
- Parental leave
- New Hampshire's Pregnancy Disability Leave applies to private employers with six or more employees. It requires employers to give temporary leaves for physical disabilities caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
- The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also protects employees, allowing 12 weeks of unpaid leave for childbirth.
- Crime victim leave
- New Hampshire's Crime Victim Employment Leave Act requires employers to give unpaid leave to eligible employees with proper documentation. The employer can limit the length of the leave if it causes too much difficulty for them.
- Military leave
- In New Hampshire, full-time workers have the right to a 15-day leave with full pay if they have to report for military drills or temporary training. If an employee needs more time for military duty, employers can grant an additional 30-day leave with partial pay.
- FMLA covers military caregiver leave for an employee whose spouse or family member is injured on military duty.
- Meal breaks
- In New Hampshire, employers must give workers a 30-minute break if they work more than five consecutive hours unless they can eat while working and their employer allows it. If the employee doesn't work during their break time, the employer doesn't need to pay them for this meal period.
- Workers' compensation
- The New Hampshire Workers' Compensation Act applies to all workplaces in New Hampshire. Employees should notify their employers immediately if they're injured at work to ensure they receive benefits.
- Breastfeeding breaks
- New Hampshire lacks its own law protecting women's right to express milk at work. Still, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide a suitable place and ample time for this until the child turns one.
- Unemployment benefits
- The employer pays for this coverage, not the employee. New Hampshire Employment Security administers unemployment benefits.
- If an employer requires a uniform with a logo or “distinctive design,” they must provide it to employees free of charge.
New Hampshire doesn’t require the following benefits:
- Sick leave
- Bereavement leave
- Holiday leave
- Voting leave
- In New Hampshire, there's no requirement for employers to give employees time off to vote. However, if an employee is unable to vote on Election Day due to work obligations, they're considered an absent voter and entitled to absentee voting.
- Rest breaks
- While employers don't have to give rest periods, they must provide a 24-hour rest day after an employee works for seven consecutive days.
- Vacation time
- Severance pay
- Health insurance benefits
- The federal government doesn’t require New Hampshire employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to offer health insurance coverage.
- Federal law requires employers to provide affordable health benefits with minimum essential coverage (MEC) and minimum value (MV) for organizations with 50 or more FTEs.
No matter what benefits you offer your employees, you must provide any policies related to your fringe benefits at the time of hire.
Health insurance coverage in New Hampshire
Even if you aren’t required to provide health insurance to your employees under federal law, health benefits are an excellent way to attract and retain top talent, especially in a tight labor market.
Organizations of all sizes face challenges when finding health insurance coverage. There are three primary ways to provide health benefits to your employees:
- Offering traditional group health insurance, including small group health insurance
- Offering a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) to reimburse employees for their individual health insurance coverage
- Offering an informal employee stipend
Traditional group health insurance plans are a form of employer-sponsored health coverage. Employers and employees typically share premium costs, and risk is spread across the entire group to reduce benefit costs.
The table below shows the average single premium per enrolled employee in New Hampshire for 2022.
New Hampshire share of annual premium contribution
New Hampshire annual premium contribution amount
Total average group health insurance premium
However, rising premium costs have made it challenging for small and midsized businesses to offer traditional group health insurance.
But in New Hampshire, individual health insurance tends to be cheaper than group coverage. The chart below shows the difference in monthly premiums for New Hampshire's three most populated counties.
|Group coverage premium cost for a 27-year-old||Individual silver-level premium cost for a 27-year-old||Group coverage premium cost for a 50-year-old||Individual silver-level premium cost for a 50-year-old|
Your employees can purchase individual health insurance plans from the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace to cover themselves and their families. Let's go over how you can take advantage of this.
Health reimbursement arrangement (HRA)
A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) is an IRS-approved, employer-funded health benefit that allows you to reimburse your employees, tax-free, for their individual health coverage premiums and other qualifying medical expenses.
With an HRA, you have complete control over your benefits budget while giving your employees more freedom to choose how they want to use their benefits.
Some HRAs, such as the individual coverage HRA (ICHRA), can satisfy the federal requirements for applicable large employers (ALEs). This allows organizations of all sizes that offer an HRA to save money on their health benefits.
Learn more about each HRA
For employers with 1-49 employees
A simple, controlled-cost alternative to group health insurance.
For employers of all sizes
A flexible health benefit that can be used alone or alongside group health insurance.
A health stipend is a fixed sum of money offered to your employees to help pay for their healthcare expenses. A health employee stipend isn't a formal group health plan, so you have complete control over which expenses are eligible for reimbursement.
This makes a health stipend an excellent option for small businesses looking to offer a health benefit that covers costs health insurance or HRAs may not cover, such as mental health expenses.
However, a stipend doesn’t satisfy the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, and all reimbursements are taxable for employers and employees.
Learn all about employee stipends with our ultimate guide
Wage laws in New Hampshire
There are various federal and state laws you need to consider when it comes to setting employee wages in New Hampshire.
Minimum wage laws
The minimum wage rate in New Hampshire matches the federal rate. The hourly rate for minimum wage in New Hampshire is $7.25.
Subminimum wage laws
New Hampshire doesn't impose any restrictions on the subminimum wage for people with disabilities, as defined by FLSA. Therefore, they won't receive less than the federal minimum wage requirement of $7.25.
The same minimum wage applies to the following:
In New Hampshire, employers can pay trainees a training wage of at least 75% of the state minimum wage if they have less than six months of experience. If an employee is a student, the employer can apply to pay them below minimum wage or not pay them at all for practical experience.
The current tipped minimum wage in New Hampshire is at least 45% of the current federal and state minimum wage, which is at least $3.27.
To qualify for the state-tipped minimum wage, an individual must work at food service facilities, including the following:
To be a tipped employee, they must earn at least $30 in tips per month.
New Hampshire typically adheres to the FLSA for overtime regulations. Unless exempted by the FLSA, hourly non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate for any hours worked over forty in a single week.
Payment of wages
In New Hampshire, there are no specific laws about payment frequency. Employers can choose to pay weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. If paid weekly, the employer must pay within eight days after the workweek ends. If paid biweekly, the employer must pay within 15 days after the two workweeks end.
In New Hampshire, employers must pay an employee's final paycheck 72 hours after termination. Employees who quit or resign must receive unpaid wages on the next regular payday.
New Hampshire follows federal regulations for recordkeeping.
FLSA rules for recording keeping are as follows:
- Employers must keep payroll information, bargaining agreements, sales and purchases, I-9 forms, certificates, and notices for a period of three years.
- Employers must keep shipping and billing records, timecards, wage rate information, and details of additions and deductions from wages for two years.
- Employers must keep employment information related to hiring, termination, and any additional documentation accumulated during the employment period for a minimum of one year.
Child labor laws in New Hampshire
Minors under 18 have limits on their work hours and job duties. They can't work more than 10.25 hours per day or 54 hours per week. In manufacturing, the limit is 10 hours a day and 48 hours a week. If a minor works for multiple employers, their total work hours can't exceed the limits for one employer. Minors under 18 aren’t allowed to work in hazardous occupations except in approved programs. Their work hours are also restricted.
Minors under 16 in New Hampshire need a youth employment certificate to work, unless it's for family or casual work. Employers must get the certificate within three business days. No one under 16 can work in dangerous jobs.
Students aged 16 to 17 can't work more than 35 hours a week during school hours or more than 48 hours a week during summer or school vacations.
Minors aged 14 to 15 have specific restrictions on their employment hours. They're not allowed to work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on school days. They're also limited to a maximum of three hours of work per day on school days and a maximum of 23 hours per week. On non-school days, they can work up to eight hours per day. During vacation periods, they can work up to 48 hours per week.
Children under 12 can't work unless it's for a family member or casual work. Casual work is occasional, doesn't last more than three days with one employer, doesn't pay much, and doesn't establish an employer-employee relationship.
There are specific restrictions on hours of work for minors in New Hampshire based on age and school attendance. These requirements are in the Youth Employment Law.
Other HR rules in New Hampshire
There are a few other HR rules you need to be aware of in New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination (NHLAD) typically applies to employers with six or more employees.
It prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as:
- Marital status
- Physical or mental disability
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
The NHLAD also bans retaliation against those who file a discrimination complaint or participate in any discrimination proceeding.
Employers in New Hampshire can do background checks, but they must follow regulations. Screenings and checks must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for validity.
Some of the professions that require background checks include:
- School and daycare employees
- Foster care agency employees
- Residential and children's camp employees
- Nursing home employees
In New Hampshire, medical marijuana, or therapeutic cannabis, is allowed, but employers can take disciplinary action against employees who use marijuana while at work.
Smoking indoors, including in places of work, isn't allowed under the New Hampshire Indoor Smoking Act.
In New Hampshire, there are no laws that prohibit employers from drug testing job applicants or employees. As long as it doesn't violate other laws, such as discrimination or retaliation laws, employers have the freedom to implement drug testing policies.
New Hampshire follows Federal I-9 compliance for employment verification. There's no requirement to use E-Verify under New Hampshire state laws, although employers may use it voluntarily.
Frequently asked questions
What is the minimum wage in New Hampshire?
The minimum wage in New Hampshire is $7.25 per hour.
Is there a right-to-work law in New Hampshire?
No. New Hampshire isn't a right-to-work state. This means that employers can ask employees and job applicants to join or stay in a union.
What is the law for lunch breaks at work in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire, employees must receive a 30-minute break if they work more than five consecutive hours unless they can eat while working and their employer allows it. Employers don't need to pay employees for their break if they don't work during it.
Can you be fired without warning in New Hampshire?
Yes. An employer in New Hampshire can fire without giving a reason or a notice.
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