New Hampshire state law requires the state minimum wage to be the same as the federal minimum wage. This means that New Hampshire’s current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
There are some exceptions to that minimum for certain types of workers.
NH minimum wage for tipped workers
Workers who regularly get more than $30 per month in tips can be paid a lower minimum wage – 45% of whatever minimum wage applies to them. For most tipped workers, that comes to $3.27 per hour. If a worker can show that their pay plus tips adds up to less than the minimum wage for the hours they worked, their employer must make up the difference.
In 2021 Gov. Sununu signed a bill to freeze the tipped minimum wage at $3.27 per hour if the federal government raises the regular minimum wage.
Job training and student minimum wages
Workers with less than six months of experience in a job can be paid as low as $5.44 per hour if their employer gets approval from the New Hampshire Department of Labor.
Workers who are also full-time high school or college students can be paid a lower minimum wage—or even no wages at all— if they’re being employed to gain professional experience and their school or employer gets permission from the state.
Special minimum wages for disabled workers
Disabled workers may be paid less than the regular minimum wage, but only as part of an approved work training program.
Professions exempt from the minimum wage
Certain professions are exempt from the minimum wage law:
- household and domestic labor
- summer camp employees
- golf caddies
- commissioned sales employees
- some ski area employees
- children working for parents or grandparents
- spouses who work in support of their spouse’s business
Policies in other states
Many states have minimum wages set higher than the federal level, ranging from $8 in Nevada to $15 in Washington, D.C.
Currently, New Hampshire is the only state in New England to use the federal minimum wage, with all other states in the region setting a higher rate.
Raising the minimum wage
There have been several recent efforts to increase the minimum wage in New Hampshire, but so far none have succeeded.
Minimum wage increases can take different forms. Some are a flat, one-time increase. Others involve a schedule of gradual increases. In some states, increases in the minimum wage are indexed. This means they rise automatically if a certain measure goes up such as the statewide median wage or the regional consumer price index.
Where do you stand on raising the minimum wage? Your legislators are debating this issue now. Find your reps and share your story with them.
“New Hampshire should raise the minimum wage.”
- A full time worker earning $7.25 per hour makes less than $300 per week. In New Hampshire that’s not even enough to cover the average cost of rent, never mind other living expenses. According to an MIT study, a single person in Concord needs to earn $25,570 per year before taxes in order to afford basic necessities such as food, rent, and healthcare. Working full time at $7.25 means an annual income of around $15,000.
- Minimum wage workers generally have to spend every dollar they earn. That means any increase in their wages goes straight into boosting the revenues of businesses in their communities, helping to support the economy.
- New Hampshire’s minimum wage has actually lost purchasing power over the past several decades. That means the same amount of money buys less services and goods than it did in the past. This means the minimum wage here has effectively gone down.
- It’s not just young people or those just entering the workforce who are paid minimum wage. Most minimum wage workers are over the age of 20.
The preceding points were made by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute in the article, “Long Since Due: An Increase in New Hampshire’s Minimum Wage”. Statistics cited have been updated.
“New Hampshire should not increase its minimum wage.”
- Raising the minimum wage will make it harder for businesses to create entry-level jobs for young and first-time workers. If New Hampshire wants to increase the demand for more hourly workers, making it more expensive to hire them is not the way to go about it.
- Only 2.1% of workers in New Hampshire actually are paid the minimum wage or less. Over half of these are tipped employees who generally earn much more than $7.25 per hour.
- Most minimum wage workers receive a raise within the first year they’re employed.
- Forcing small retail or service companies, like those that dominate New Hampshire tourism industry, to pay the same high wages as big corporations could put them out of business.
- Studies have shown that if minimum wages are raised, hours for some low earners will be cut or companies will reduce their payroll in order to even out their costs. That means fewer available jobs, particularly for new or low-skilled workers.
- Raising the minimum wage will force increases in hourly wages all the way up the pay scale, increasing costs that will have to be made up through cutbacks elsewhere.
The preceding points were made by Bruce Berke, state director for the New Hampshire branch of the National Federation of Independent Business, in response to a 2014 effort to raise the minimum wage. Statistics cited have been updated.