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New Hampshire Relaxes Youth Employment Restrictions

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On June 17, 2022, New Hampshire amended its youth employment laws to lower the age restriction for employees to clean tables at establishments serving alcoholic beverages. The amendments also increase the number of hours employees under 18 years of age may work when school is in session. The amendments became effective on the day they were adopted.

New Hampshire Child Labor Laws

In general, state law prohibits employees under the age of 18 from operating unsafe machinery, working excessive hours and working in dangerous occupations. In addition, state law does not allow any youth who works more than two nights in a week past 8:00 p.m. to work more than an 8-hour shift during that particular week.

New Hampshire has incorporated the following two federal documents as state law:

Employers should review New Hampshire’s child labor statutes and regulations for a complete list of prohibited occupations for youth employees.

Work Hour Notice

Employers that hire employees under the age of 18 must display in the workplace a notice stating:

  • The hours of work;
  • The time allowed for dinner and other meals; and
  • The maximum number of hours any youth is permitted to work in any one day.

Work Authorization

Employers must obtain work authorization before hiring employees under the age of 18. For youths between the age of 12 and 15, employers must obtain a youth employment certificate (also known as “working papers”)  by the third day of employment and retain it at their place of business. However, a certificate is not required for casual work. State law defines casual work as “employment that is infrequent or of brief duration or productive of little or sporadic income or not commonly held to establish an employer-employee relationship.”

For 16- and 17-year-olds, employers must obtain written permission from a parent or guardian at the time employment begins. Written permission is not required for 16- and 17-year-olds who have already graduated from high school or have a general equivalency diploma.

Ages 16 and 17 

Employees who are 16 or 17 years of age are allowed to work up to six consecutive days per week. The maximum number of hours they can work during a week depends on how many days are designated as school days.

School days per weekMaximum weekly hours of work
5 days35 hours
4 days40 ¼ hours
0 -3 days48 hours

Youth Under 16 Years of Age

Employers cannot hire minors under 16 years of age to work in a dangerous area in manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying occupations or in woods and logging.

Minors under 16 can work:

  • Between 7 a.m. and  9 p.m.
  • Up to three hours per day on school days (8 during non-school days)
  • Up to 23 hours per week during school weeks (48 hours during non-school weeks)

Youth who are 14 years of age or older are allowed to clean tables, remove empty containers and glasses and assist in stocking in the premises of an establishment that is licensed to handle liquor and beverages. However, state law also requires that a person of at least 18 years of age be in attendance and designated in charge of the employees and business.

Youth Under 12 Years of Age

Youth under 12 years of age are not allowed to work unless they:

  • Work for their parents or guardians;
  • Are engaged in casual work; or
  • Deliver newspapers door to door.

Please Note: The state laws summaries featured on this site are for general informational purposes only. In addition to state law, certain municipalities may enact legislation that imposes different requirements. State and local laws change frequently and, as such, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information featured in the State Laws section. For more detailed information regarding state or local laws, please contact your state labor department or the appropriate local government agency.

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