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What Employers Should Know About New Hampshire's Two Hour Reporting Rule

Written by: Linda S. Johnson

New Hampshire law provides, as a general rule, that on any day in which an employee reports to work at an employer's request, the employee shall be paid not less than 2 hours pay at the employee's regular rate of pay. This does not apply to employees of counties or municipalities. No employer who makes a good faith effort to notify an employee not to report to work shall be liable for this reporting pay. However, if the employee reports to work after the employer's attempt to notify the employee has been unsuccessful or if the employer is prevented from making notification for any reason, the employee shall perform whatever duties are assigned by the employer at the time the employee reports to work.

This two hour reporting pay rule was challenged some years ago, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court carved out an exemption for circumstances such as a YWCA fitness instructor who is hired to teach a class of less than 2 hours duration and notified in advance of this arrangement. In such a situation, the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that the two hour reporting pay would not be due but, rather, the employee could be paid for the actual time worked even if it was less than two hours.

Effective May of 1999, the New Hampshire Department of Labor amended its regulation to further clarify circumstances in which the two hour reporting pay rule would not apply. The regulations provide three situations in which the two hour reporting pay is not due. First, employees who report to work and then request to leave on the basis of illness, personal or family emergency shall be exempt provided that a written explanation, initialed by the employee is entered on the employee's time slip or card. Second, employees who are hired and report to work with the expectation that they will work less than two hours and are notified in advance of their schedule shall be exempt provided that the notification is in writing. Third, health care employees of community based outreach services providers who voluntarily make schedule changes to meet the needs of the physically or mentally infirm clients they serve and who sign a statement upon hire stating that they understand this job requirement.

All employers should be familiar with the above two hour reporting law rules. The New Hampshire law is found at RSA 275:43-a, and the relevant Labor Department regulations are Lab 803.04(h), (i) and (j).

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