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N.H.: Legislature Enacts Paycheck Fairness Bill

By Susan R. Heylman  5/29/2014
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The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens equal pay protections for women in the workplace, received final approval from the New Hampshire Legislature on May 14, 2014. Following the legislature’s vote, Gov. Maggie Hassan said that she would sign the bill. It will take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

“With the final passage of the most significant piece of legislation for women in New Hampshire’s workforce in over a decade, Republican and Democratic members of the House have reaffirmed the basic principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay,” Hassan said. “Eliminating the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across the state.”

Pay Equality

Under the act, an employer or person seeking employees may not discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying employees of one sex at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the other sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to:

∙ A seniority system.

∙ A merit of performance-based system.

∙ A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production;

∙ expertise.

∙ Shift differentials.

∙ A demonstrable factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience.

An employer who is paying wages in violation of these terms cannot reduce the wage rate of any other employee in order to comply with these provisions.

Non-retaliation Provision

The act provides that no employer shall discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because he or she:

∙ Makes a charge, files any complaint, or institutes or causes to be instituted any investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action related to paycheck fairness under the act, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or has testified or is planning to testify or has assisted or participated in any manner in any such proceeding, hearing, or action.

∙ Inquired about, discussed, or disclosed his or her wages or those of another employee.

Pay Disclosure

An employer may not require that an employee not disclose the amount of his or her wages as a condition of employment. The employer also may not require an employee to sign a waiver that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose the amount of his or her wages, salary, or paid benefits.

An employer may not discharge, formally discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages, salary, or paid benefits.

The New Hampshire Senate passed Senate Bill 207 unanimously on March 13; the House of Representatives passed it with bipartisan support, 233-103 on May 14.

Susan R. Heylman, J.D., is a freelance legal writer and editor based in the Washington, D.C., area.

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