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
LOCAL SURCHARGE ON OCCUPANCY UNDER THE MEALS AND ROOMS TAX: On Thursday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m. the House Ways & Means Committee will hear HB 1609, which would allow cities and towns to add an additional surcharge not to exceed $2 per occupancy per 24-hour period on rentals within that city or town. This surcharge would be in addition to the state’s 9 percent meals and rooms tax. The licensee would remit the surcharge to the state along with the 9 percent state tax. The state would then send those funds collected back to the city or town. NHLRA opposes this bill.
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT: On Tuesday, January 16 at 2:30 p.m. the Senate Commerce Committee will hear SB 318, which would repeal employment restrictions for 16 and 17-year olds. Current state law limits the number of hours 16 and 17 year olds can work. Federal Labor law has no such restrictions, so this bill will make NH law consistent with federal labor law. NHLRA requested Senator French to put this bill in. We will testify in support.
HEALTH INSURANCE PURCHASING ALLIANCES: On Tuesday, January 16 at 1:30 p.m. the Senate Health & Human Services Committee will hear SB 546, which would provide that health insurance purchased through a qualifying purchasing alliance shall be considered to be large group coverage, thereby enabling health status and experience to be used as a rating factor health status and experience cannot be used as a rating factor by small employers. This change could benefit small employers that have a good health status and experience and who are eligible to join a purchasing alliance.
BREAST FEEDING: On Tuesday, January 16 at 9:20 a.m. the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear SB 497, which would enable a woman who believes her right to breast feed her child has been violated to file a discrimination claim with the state commission for human rights or may seek immediate injunctive relief in district or superior court.
REDUCING LABOR REGULATIONS: On Wednesday, January 17 at 9:15 a.m. the Senate Executive Departments & Administration Committee will hear SB 465, which will reduce and eliminate many state labor regulations. The bill would: prohibit fines from being imposed if the general intent of the law was met; written documentation would not be required to meet the intent of the law and paperwork discrepancies would not be fined; eliminate the working hour restrictions for 16 and 17 year olds; employees could buy company clothing; eliminate the need for employee signing/documenting when leaving before 2-hour minimum on their own, when correcting hours to be paid due to their clock in errors, or when receiving pay increases; no random audits of employers; allow employers to have mandatory tip-sharing policies; expand opportunity for unpaid internships; reduce record keeping from 4 to 3 years; expand warnings before fines by providing employers 30 days to fix violations; eliminate fines for not posting labor laws in “conspicuous” place; and eliminate need for written safety plan. NHLRA supports this bill.
Contact the NHLRA with your legislative questions or concerns at 603-228-9585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.