Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - New Hampshire
New Hampshire law is virtually identical to federal overtime law. New Hampshire requires that anyone who works in excess of 40 hours per week be paid one and one-half their normal rate. 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 seven 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.
New Hampshire’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the federal 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 ($5.43 per hour) 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, or $5.43 per hour. Employers must keep evidence that such a person is working for her/him on file.
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 $3.26 per hour (45% of the minimum wage).
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.
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.
No cities or counties in New Hampshire currently have a minimum wage different from the state minimum of $7.25 per hour.
An employer cannot require an employee to work more than five consecutive hours without providing her/him with a 30-minute lunch break.
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.
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. Then, either fax the form to (603) 271-2668 or mail the form to:
Wage and Hour Administrator
New Hampshire Department of Labor
PO Box 2076
Concord, NH 03302-2076
Alternatively, you can call or email the Inspection Division of Labor and have them mail you the form. Their contact information is:
Phone: (603) 271-3176
The Department of Labor can hold a hearing and decide to award you the wages you are owed, additional damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Your employer may appeal that decision if (s)he wishes.
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 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. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, but it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the New Hampshire Department of Labor.
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 learn how to represent yourself as well.