New Hampshire has no laws requiring employers to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid.
Neither New Hampshire’s Legislature nor its courts have given any significant guidance regarding other potential vacation policy issues. They are silent regarding whether an employer may:
- establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment,
- deny payment for accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract is silent on the matter,
- require an employee to comply with specific requirements to qualify for payment of vacation leave upon separation from employment, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year,
- cap the vacation leave an employee may accrue over time,
- implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it.
Although New Hampshire’s authorities are silent regarding many vacation policy issues, based on the contractual emphasis New Hampshire has placed on vacation policies, an employer is likely free to implement the vacation policy of its choosing; however, an employer would be required to comply with the terms of its policy or contract. NH Admin. Rules, Lab 803.03
An employer must inform its employees in writing or by posting of its policies regarding vacation benefits, personal day pay, other types of leave, or other fringe benefits. NH Admin. Rules, Lab 803.03
New Hampshire law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. An employer must inform its employees in writing or by posting of its policies regarding sick leave pay or other fringe benefits. NH Admin. Rules, Lab 803.03
An employer in New Hampshire may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
New Hampshire law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In New Hampshire, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws.
If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. An employer must inform its employees in writing or by posting its policies regarding holiday pay or other fringe benefits. NH Admin. Rules, Lab 803.03
Visit our New Hampshire State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of New Hampshire as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer is not required to pay an employee any wages for the time spent complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.
An employer may not discharge, threaten, or coerce an employee for receiving and/or responding to a summons, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.
New Hampshire does not require an employer to provide employees time off to vote, either paid or unpaid. It does provide that an employee who is unable to vote on election day due to employment obligations is considered absent and entitled to absentee voting. NH Statute 657.1
New Hampshire law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain. An employer must inform its employees in writing or by posting of its policies regarding bereavement leave pay, funeral leave pay, or other fringe benefits.
Family Medical Leave
Employees are covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) at the federal level. With this benefit, employees have the potential to take unpaid leave for a specific length of time and can return to their original position.
Employees receive 12 weeks of unpaid time off for various reasons when taking leave under FMLA. Many use this type of leave to handle severe health conditions or bond with a new child.
A few other examples of qualified reasons for time off include:
- Caring for an ill family member
- Caring for a sick or injured military family member
- Dealing with extenuating circumstances arising from an ailment
Employees must meet requirements to be eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act, namely:
- Having worked more than 1250 hours for their employer the previous year
- Having worked for the company for at least 12 months
- Currently working for an employer with at least 50 employees at their location within 75 miles
Under FMLA, employees are granted 12 weeks of leave within 12 months. This period extends after 12 months, so long as the employee continues meeting the same eligibility requirements.
However, those caring for a military family member have up to 26 weeks of leave within 12 months.
NH labor laws vacation time also covers disability leave on the state level. The New Hampshire state government requires employers to provide time off if employees experience:
- Disability concerning pregnancy
- Disability with regard to childbirth
- Related conditions preventing them from working
Military members in New Hampshire are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the exact (or equivalent) previously held position
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)
Outside of USERRA, military members don’t receive any additional leave benefits under NH labor laws vacation time. Like many other states, it must be noted employers cannot discriminate against or fire an employee for attending field training, active duty, ceremonies, and other military duties.