June 8, 2023

Are you an employer in the Granite State and if so, are you up on all of the New Hampshire wage and hour laws? There are many requirements to keep up with regarding time worked and pay!

Whether you’re hiring your first employee, have a specific question, or simply want to ensure you’re compliant, it’s always a good time to review. While these laws primarily affect non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees, some also apply to exempt staff. 

And if you’re hiring minors and new to the process, remember that separate New Hampshire child labor laws have time and hour restrictions for workers under age 18. These even include specific requirements for different age groups (i.e., under 16 and 16 to 17).

Read on for answers to seven key New Hampshire labor law questions.

How is a workweek defined in New Hampshire?

A workweek is defined as a fixed period of 168 consecutive hours equaling 7 consecutive 24-hour periods. Employers must specify when their workweek starts and ends, including the day of the week and hour of the day, and the workweek must align with the calendar week.

What do I have to pay employees for?

New Hampshire wage and hour laws follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for hours worked, stating that employers must pay employees for all hours worked. 

However, this isn’t always black and white. There are specific requirements and exemptions for waiting time, travel time, and meeting, lecture, and training time. Let’s break them down.

Waiting Time

The FLSA recognizes three types of waiting time, which is defined as an employee’s time spent not performing the job duties for which they were hired. During these periods, employees may still be subject to their employer’s direction and their job duties.

  • On-duty waiting time: This usually takes place during regular work hours and is when an employee awaits direction from their supervisor or manager. On-duty waiting time should be counted as hours worked. One example is a warehouse worker waiting for equipment to arrive.
  • On-call time: Similar to on-duty waiting time, this involves an employee who must remain available after their shift ends. The on-call conditions vary by employer. For example, an on-call employee may be allowed to use that time for personal reasons, in which case they’re considered off-duty. But an on-call worker who is restricted from using that time for personal matters due to constant calls or other conditions from the employer could be considered on-duty.
  • Off-duty waiting time: Since this occurs when an employee is free of their job duties, can leave their workplace, and can use the time as they wish, off-duty waiting time should not be counted as hours worked. For example, if a sales representative travels to a prospect’s facility for a meeting that ends at 12 p.m., doesn’t have another meeting until 3 p.m., and is free to do as they please during the time in between, they are considered off-duty.

Travel Time

Employers do not need to pay employees for their regular commutes between home and work. However, employees who travel as part of their work duties and between multiple worksites must be paid for that time.

There are several unique situations that may require you to pay for employees’ travel time. Learn more about travel pay and compliance.

Meeting, Lecture & Training Time

The FLSA states that employers must pay employees for attending meetings, trainings, and lectures. However, you do not have to pay staff for this time if it is: 

  • Outside the employee’s regular working hours
  • Voluntary
  • Not directly related to their job, and
  • Does not entail the employee doing productive work

If all four of these requirements are met, you do not have to pay the worker for their time attending the event.

What is the minimum time an employer must pay an employee who reports to work?

New Hampshire labor laws require employers to pay employees for a minimum of two hours of work at their regular pay if the employee shows up to work at your request—even if they work less than two hours. This is also known as “show up” pay.

Three main exceptions include:

  • An employee showing up to work after you have made good faith yet unsuccessful attempts to notify them not to report for a scheduled shift. If this occurs, you may require the employee to perform assigned duties when they report to work.
  • An employee who is scheduled to work under two hours in a shift, as long as the employee was informed in advance and in writing of the shift duration.
  • Employees of counties or municipalities or si and snowboard instructional employees at ski resorts, as long as you provide them with other compensation that is at least equal to their rate of pay.

When do New Hampshire employers have to pay overtime?

New Hampshire also follows federal law here, requiring employers to pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours in a week. Overtime pay must equal 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for ALL hours worked past 40 unless exempt by the FLSA.

Typically, overtime pay only applies to hourly, or non-exempt, employees. However, some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay. This can depend on their wages, job duties, and whether they are classified as employees or independent contractors. 

It’s always best to consult with your HR, attorney, or the New Hampshire Department of Labor (DOL) if you’re unsure about a worker’s overtime eligibility.

Are New Hampshire employees entitled to a lunch period?

Any employee working more than five consecutive hours is entitled to a 30-minute lunch or eating period. If you can’t afford to give an employee 30 minutes but they can eat while working, you must pay them for their time.

Note that any additional breaks lasting less than 20 minutes you choose to give employees must be paid.

How frequently must employers pay employees?

As a New Hampshire employer, you have the option to pay employees:

  • Weekly, meaning you must issue paychecks within 8 days of the end of each pay period
  • Biweekly, meaning you must pay them within 15 days of the end of a pay period

If you wish to pay employees less frequently, you must request permission from the DOL outlining:

  • Payment method
  • Either a semi-monthly (twice a month) or monthly pay schedule
  • The beginning and end of each pay period
  • Designated payday(s)
  • Employee classification
  • The salary range of relevant employees
  • Your employer identification number (EIN)

The DOL grants these requests on a case-by-case basis but will not allow you to pay employees less than monthly.

Who is responsible for keeping records of hours and wages?

The employer must maintain accurate records of hours worked and wages paid for all employees for a minimum of at least three years. These documents will be subject to inspection if your company is ever selected for a DOL audit.

Adhere to New Hampshire Wage & Hour Laws

There are many gray areas and exceptions when it comes to New Hampshire labor laws. Every business and role is different, sparking unique scenarios and questions. The key to remaining compliant is not to guess or wait to find out the hard way! If you’re unsure about something, consult your HR or legal team. Illegal hour and wage practices, even if accidental, can open your company up to significant fines and lawsuits. 

If you have additional questions or need guidance on a specific situation, contact BlueLion today at 603-818-4131 or info@bluelionllc.com! Our HR consultants have extensive knowledge of New Hampshire wage and hour laws and will help you ensure your team is paid and treated properly.

The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.