Combating sexual harassment in the workplace begins with a culture of respect and responsibility. How do you build that kind of culture? You get what you incentivize, and it starts with strong anti-harassment policy and training. But it does not end there. It is the employer’s reaction to allegations of sexual harassment that sets the tone and determines the workplace’s culture. Will your company be permissive of sexual transgressions, particularly where the accused is a valued employee? Or will your company take every complaint seriously, investigate it thoroughly, take appropriate actions in response, and protect the alleged victim from retaliation?
ROOM REMARKETERS: The House Ways & Means Committee continues to discuss HB 1548, which would subject the full amount charged by room remarketers (like Travelocity, Airbnb, HomeAway, etc.) to the meals and rooms tax. These remarketers would become the licensed entity to collect and remit the tax due on rooms sold through their marketplaces. The trade association representing these room remarketers is lobbying against this bill. NHLRA urges members to email the House Ways & Means Committee at HouseWays&MeansCommittee@leg.state.nh.us and urge them to pass HB 1548 to ensure a level playing field between our industry and the online remarketers.
ALLOWING CITIES AND TOWNS TO LICENSE SHORT TERM RENTALS: On Tuesday, February 6 at 2:00 p.m. the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 1635, which would allow cities and towns to issue licenses for the operation of a short term rental.
LIMITING THE TYPES OF BEVERAGES OFFERED WITH A CHILDREN’S MEAL: On Wednesday, February 14 at 2:00 p.m. the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 1668, which would limit the beverages offered with a children’s meal to milk or a non-dairy milk alternative, 100 percent juice or fruit juice combined with water or carbonated water with no added caloric sweetness, water, sparkling water, or flavored water with no added natural or artificial sweeteners. NHLRA opposes this bill.
SEPARATE BATHROOMS FOR EACH SEX: On Wednesday, February 14 at 1:15 p.m. the House Commerce Committee will hear HB 1382, which would repeal the requirement that restaurants provide separate bathrooms for each gender.
In a strategic partnership with MMG Insurance and Hospitality Insurance Group, the NHLRA has tailored a program to meet the unique insurance needs of NHLRA members. The Valued Insurance Partner Program (VIP) includes competitive insurance rates and discounts designed for the hospitality industry.
RESTAURANTS & LODGING
MMG Insurance offers a range of coverage for our restaurant and lodging property members. MMG's Business Owner Insurance Policy allows members to purchase property and liability coverage together, preventing a lawsuit from turning into a financial disaster and protecting the business from property loss damages. Best of all, through the new VIP Program, NHLRA members may be eligible for a 5% discount on their insurance!
NIGHTCLUBS, BARS, & TAVERNS
Businesses in the hospitality industry that serve or sell liquor are at tremendous risk for unexpected claims. Hospitality Insurance Group offers liquor liability coverage to NHLRA members at a discounted rate of up to 20% off their premium!
For more information, contact your local insurance agent.
NOTE: The offers above are subject to terms and conditions of the individual plans of insurance. This is not an offer of insurance.
INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE: On Tuesday, January 23 at 1:30 p.m. the Senate Commerce Committee will hear SB 554, which would increase the minimum wage as follows: on July 1, 2018, $7.50 an hour if the employer offers health insurance to its employees and $9.00 if the employer does not offer health insurance; on July 1, 2019, $9.00 an hour if the employer offers health insurance and $11.00 if the employer does not offer health insurance; on July 1, 2020, $10.50 an hour if the employer offers health insurance and $13.00 if the employer does not offer insurance; on July 2021, $12.00 an hour if an employer offers health insurance and $15.00 if the employer does not offer health insurance. NHLRA opposes this bill.
PAYMENT FOR UNUSED VACATION OR PERSONAL TIME: On Wednesday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. the House Labor Committee will hear HB 1393, which would require an employer that terminates an employee for any reason to pay that employee no later than the next regular pay period for unused vacation time or personal time. NHLRA opposes this bill.
ADVANCE NOTICE OF WORK SCHEDULE: On Wednesday, January 24 at 1:00 p.m. the House Labor Committee will hear HB 1451, which would require employers with 10 or more employees or 2 or more locations to provide an employee with a work schedule in writing at least 7 days before the first day of the work schedule. The employer would have to post the written work schedule in a conspicuous and accessible location. If the employer requests changes to the written work schedule the employer would have to provide the employee with timely notice of the change and the employee would be entitled to decline any work shifts not included in the original noticed work schedule. NHLRA opposes this bill.
PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: The House gave preliminary approval to HB 628, passing it on a vote of 183-151. The bill would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program for employees. The insurance pool would be funded through a .5% deduction from employee’s wages which employers would remit to the NH Department of Employment Security on a quarterly basis. Employers would provide employees, upon hire, a form prepared by the Department that explains the program and provides an opportunity for employees to opt-out of the program. Employees would be given an opportunity to opt in on January 1 of each year. Participating employees would have to invest into the fund for 6 months prior to taking leave. The benefit would provide a participating employee 60 percent of their average weekly wages in the highest quarter of the year prior to the benefit year payable up to 12 weeks leave. The bill now goes to the House Commerce Committee for further review. A hearing is scheduled in the Committee for next Tuesday, January 16 at 11:00 a.m. NHLRA has a number of concerns with this legislation including the new administrative burdens and the viability of a program that enables employees to opt-in and opt-out.
NHLRA TESTIFIES AGAINST INCREASE IN TIP WAGE AND EMLIMINATION OF 3% MEALS AND ROOMS TAX COMMISSION: NHLRA testified this past week against two bills that would hurt our industry. HB 1246 would increase the tip wage from $3.27 to the full minimum hourly wage by January 1, 2020. HB 1710 would eliminate the 3% commission meals and rooms tax licensees are allowed to retain for collecting and remitting the meals and rooms tax in a timely manner and replace it with a flat 100 maximum per month commission. Both bills are currently under consideration in House committees.
ADULT CHANGING STATIONS IN PUBLIC BATHROOMS: On Tuesday, January 16 at 1:15 p.m. the House Health & Human Services Committee will hear HB 1312, which would require certain places of public accommodation (including new or renovated restaurants and lodging properties) to install and maintain at least one adult changing station for persons with a physical disability that is accessible to both men and women when the facility is open to the public. The requirement would apply to any new building or facility constructed on or after January 1, 2020. It would also apply to any single renovation of an existing building or facility constructed on or after January 1, 2025 if the cost of such renovation exceeds $10,000.00
6 Ways To Prevent Alcohol-Related Incidents At Your Business
Know The Law. Most (hopefully all) know not to serve anyone under the age of 21, but your staff also need to know it’s illegal to serve anyone who “is visibly intoxicated or who a reasonable and prudent person would know is intoxicated.” (RSA 179:5) The sale of alcohol to an underage or intoxicated person is considered a Class B misdemeanor offense, with a set fine of $1200. If prohibited service causes injury to the customer, this can escalate to a Class A misdemeanor, with a fine of $2000 and up to a year in jail. Employees drinking while working is not only bad practice, but also illegal in New Hampshire.
Train Your Staff. Staff should know how to determine questionable age, ways of detecting false/altered ID's, how to recognize signs of intoxication, techniques for cutting someone off, and how to reduce the risk of civil liability. New Hampshire offers free training, online or at various locations monthly. Bookmark this link as a resource to your staff.
NH LEGISLATURE KICKS OFF 2018 SESSION: The legislature began its 2018 Session last Wednesday by voting on a number of bills being carried over from the 2017 Session. The House meets this Tuesday to finish voting on those bills from the 2017 Session. Both the House and Senate plan to finish this Session by May 24.
PAID FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE: On Tuesday, January 9 the House will vote on HB 628, which would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program for employees. The insurance pool would be funded through a .5% deduction from employee’s wages which employers would remit to the NH Department of Employment Security on a quarterly basis. Employers would provide employees, upon hire, a form prepared by the Department that explains the program and provides an opportunity for employees to opt-out of the program. Employees would be given an opportunity to opt in on January 1 of each year. Participating employees would have to invest into the fund for 6 months prior to taking leave. The benefit would provide a participating employee 60 percent of their average weekly wages in the highest quarter of the year prior to the benefit year payable up to 12 weeks leave. The House Labor Committee has voted 13-6 to recommend passage of the bill. NHLRA has a number of concerns with this legislation including the new administrative burdens and the viability of a program that enables employees to opt-in and opt-out.
INCREASING THE HOURLY RATE FOR TIPPED EMPLOYEES: On Wednesday, January 10 at 11:00 a.m. the House Labor Committee will hear HB 1246, which would increase the current $3.27 minimum wage for tipped employees to $4.27 on January 1, 2019 and then to the state or federal minimum wage (whichever is higher) on January 1, 2020. The bill effectively will eliminate the tip wage by 2020 and require employers to pay tipped employees the full minimum wage. NHLRA strongly opposes this bill and will testify in opposition.