Changes to New Hampshire Labor Statutes Take EffectJul 16, 2018
Governor Chris Sununu recently signed into law Senate Bill 318 (2018). The bill, which took effect June 25, 2018, makes various changes to New Hampshire’s labor statutes.
First, the bill establishes criteria under which the commissioner of the State Department of Labor may conduct a workplace inspection. Most significantly, it adds language to the current law, RSA 273:9-a, requiring proportionality of inspections, thereby limiting the Department’s ability to freely investigate workplaces. All inspections performed by the Department must now be “proportional and relative to the potential violations being inspected.” What is considered “proportional” is determined with reference to the importance of the issues at stake in the inspection, the degree to which the alleged violation involves risk of physical injury, the potential for lost wages, the amount in controversy, the parties relative to access to relevant information, and the parties’ resources.
The bill also amends certain notification and posting requirements of employers by eliminating the need to keep postings in a conspicuous place on the premises, to merely posting and making notices available to employees. This applies to certain provisions of New Hampshire’s labor laws, such as required day of rest and equal pay notifications.
Further, and most controversial, the bill loosens certain limits of the youth employment law, including the maximum number of hours that 16- and 17-year-olds can work. Under the new law, students with a four-day week of school may work up to six consecutive days and 40 ¼ hours. Students with a school week less than four days may work up to 48 hours.
Notably, the bill amends the requirements for employer retention of hour and wage records by specifying that every employer shall keep a record of the hours worked by each employee, wages paid to each employee, and classification of employment when necessary, for three years.
Finally, the bill requires employers that require employees to wear uniforms to provide each employee with a uniform at no cost.
These are just some of the changes to the State’s labor laws resulting from the past legislative session. It is important that both employers and employees keep up-to-date with State and Federal laws to ensure a safe, efficient and welcoming workplace, as well as to avoid potential penalties for violating the law.
About the Author: Lindsay E. Nadeau