Filing a Wage and Hour Claim – New Hampshire
Does New Hampshire have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?
New Hampshire law is virtually identical to federal law in this respect. State law requires that any one who works in excess of 40 hours per week be paid at time and one-half. Employees who are exempt from the overtime requirements under federal law are also exempt under state law. In addition, any employee working for an amusement, seasonal, or recreational establishment that does not operate for more than 7 months per year or earns the vast majority of its revenue in only six months of the year is also exempt from the state’s overtime requirement.
Does New Hampshire have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?
New Hampshire’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
Employers in hotels, motels, cabins, tourist homes, and restaurant industries are allowed to deduct the cost of meals and lodging from the minimum wage. The following are the maximum deductions allowed:
- $45.00 for full room and board on a weekly basis.
- $6.45 for full room and board on a daily basis.
- $39.45 for meals on a weekly basis.
- $1.88 for meals per meal.
- $10.88 for lodging on a weekly basis.
- $1.80 for lodging on a daily basis.
Employers are allowed to pay less than minimum wage to tipped employees who work in hotels, motels, inns, or cabins and who customarily receive more than $20 a month in tips from customers. However, the employer must pay those employees at least $2.93 per hour (45% of the minimum wage).
Employers are not required to pay minimum wage to anyone with less than six months’ experience at a particular job. However, the employer must pay that person at least 75% of the minimum wage, and may only pay less than the minimum wage if (s)he has filed an application with the state labor commissioner within 10 days of hiring the employee.
Employers may pay employees under the age of 16 less than the minimum wage, as long as they are paid at least 75% of the applicable minimum wage. Employers must keep evidence that such a person is working for her/him on file.
New Hampshire’s minimum wage law also does not apply to the following individuals:
- *Employees engaged in household or domestic labor.
- *Employees engaged in farm labor.
- *Outside salespersons.
- *Employees of summer camps for minors.
- *Newspaper delivery persons.
- Nonprofessional ski patrol persons.
- Golf caddies.
Those employees with asterisks (*) are also exempt under federal law. Persons exempt under federal law who are not included in the list above are covered by New Hampshire’s minimum wage law.
Does New Hampshire have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?
An employer cannot require an employee to work more than five consecutive hours without providing her/him with a thirty-minute lunch break.
Does New Hampshire have other labor standards laws that are different from federal law?
An employer can only make deductions from an employee’s salary (other than those required by law) if the employee has given her/his permission, and if it is for the employee’s benefit (e.g. union dues, medical care). Other deductions, for example for losses the employee has allegedly caused, are illegal.
How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in New Hampshire?
If your employer has violated the state’s wage-and-hour provisions, you may file a claim with the New Hampshire Department of Labor by filling out a wage claim form (a pdf version is available at http://www.labor.state.nh.us/wageclaim.pdf; you can also fill it out directly on the internet at http://www.labor.state.nh.us/wage_claim.asp). The Department of Labor can hold a hearing and make a decision, awarding you the wages you are owed, additional damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Your employer may appeal that decision if (s)he wishes.
What are my time deadlines?
Do not delay in contacting the New Hampshire Department of Labor, either by filling out a wage claim form or contacting them for more information. There are strict time limits in which charges of wage-and-hour violations must be filed. In order for the Department of Labor to act on your behalf, you must file your wage claim within 36 months (three years). However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. However, if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the New Hampshire Department of Labor.
How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in New Hampshire?
If you wish, it is possible, instead of filing a wage claim with the state Department of Labor, to sue for wages that your employer owes you. You can sue in any court of competent jurisdiction in the state (state court is the most obvious place if this is your only claim). As with the Department of Labor, the court can grant you the wages you are owed, additional damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees. The statute of limitations appears to be three years for such a claim. While it is recommended that you find a lawyer before proceeding in state court, you can do so on your own as well. See http://www.nh.gov/judiciary/sitewidelinks/faqindex.htm#REPRESENTING%20YOURSELF%20IN%20COURT.
You can contact the New Hampshire Department of Labor at (603) 271-3176 or by filling out an online contact form available at http://www.labor.state.nh.us/contact_NHDOL.asp?ptype. The Department’s website, which contains more information about wage-and-hour laws, can be found at www.labor.state.nh.us. The Department’s address is:
New Hampshire Department of Labor
95 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
This material was originally prepared by attorney Joseph Jaramillo and former law clerks Keia Cole and Adam Weiss of the law firm Goldstein, Demchak Baller Borgen and Dardarian, and was updated by Professor Douglas D. Scherer, of Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Professor Scherer also serves as the Vice President of Workplace Fairness.
© 2015 Workplace Fairness