New Hampshire Amends Wage and Hour Laws to Permit Greater Deductions and to Adopt the Federal Minimum Wage

Flag of the State of New HampshireNew Hampshire recently enacted a number of amendments to its wage and hour laws. Some of these amendments are of great importance to employers in the Granite State.

First, New Hampshire greatly expanded the types of deductions employers may make from employees’ wages. Specifically, an employer may now make such deductions “for any purpose on which the employer and employee mutually agree that does not grant financial advantage to the employer, when the employee has given his or her written authorization and deductions are duly recorded.” The new law provides, however, that such deductions may not be used to offset payments intended for purchasing items required in the performance of the employee’s job in the ordinary course of the operation of the business. In response to this change in the law, which became effective on August 6th, the New Hampshire Department of Labor (NHDOL) has published two new forms for use by employers: (1) a form by which an employee may authorize voluntary deductions; and (2) a form by which an employee authorizes the employer to recoup accidental overpayments of wages. These forms are available on the NHDOL’s website.

Second, New Hampshire adopted a law automatically tying the state minimum wage to the federal minimum wage. New Hampshire previously had established its own minimum wage rate. This change is effective on August 21, 2011.

Finally, New Hampshire amended its civil enforcement procedures to require that the NHDOL issue a warning to employers before imposing penalties for violating many state wage and hour requirements. This amendment becomes effective on August 13th. The employer will have 30 days from receipt of the warning to cure the violation. This warning requirement does not apply if, in the opinion of the NHDOL, the employer intends to cause harm, the violation poses a threat to public safety, or the violation involves certain specific provisions, such as a failure to pay an employee in full and on time or a failure to pay final wages in full upon termination of the employment relationship.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.