Chapter 273

Labor Commissioner

Section 273:1

    273:1 Department; Commissioner. – There shall be a department of labor under the executive direction of a labor commissioner who shall be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the council. Subject to the state personnel regulations, and within the limits of available appropriations and funds, the labor commissioner shall employ such clerks and assistants as may be necessary for the performance of the duties of the department, except for the division of employment security.

Source. 1911, 198:1. PL 174:1. RL 210:1. 1950, 5, part 18:1, eff. June 30, 1950.

Section 273:1-a

    273:1-a Budget and Accounting. – The department of labor shall budget and account for its operations through restricted funds rather than through the general fund; said restricted funds to be funded through all fees, licenses, certificates, and civil penalties of the department of labor, as well as existing assessment procedures.

Source. 2011, 224:51, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 273:1-b

    273:1-b Restricted Fund. – There is hereby established in the state treasury a department of labor restricted fund for the sole purpose of paying costs of operating the department of labor other than workers' compensation. All moneys in the restricted fund shall be continually appropriated to the department of labor. The commissioner shall administer the fund, and the state treasurer shall be the custodian of the fund. All moneys in the fund in excess of amounts used by the department for authorized personnel expenses, administrative costs, and other related costs for the operation of the department, shall be transferred on June 30 of each year to the general fund. The existence and operation of this restricted fund shall not affect the continued existence and operation of the administration fund established by RSA 281-A:59.

Source. 2011, 224:51, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 273:2

    273:2 Term of Commissioner; Removal. – The commissioner shall hold office for 3 years from the date of appointment and may be removed for cause by the governor, with the advice and consent of the council.

Source. 1911, 198:1. PL 174:2. RL 210:2. 2007, 156:7, eff. Aug. 17, 2007.

Section 273:3

    273:3 Vacancy. – Any vacancy existing in the office of commissioner shall be filled for the unexpired term by the governor, with the advice and consent of the council.

Source. 1911, 198:1. PL 174:3. RL 210:3.

Section 273:4

    273:4 Salary; Expenses. – The salary of the commissioner shall be that prescribed by RSA 94:1-4, and his actual expenses incurred in the work of his office shall be paid on duly detailed vouchers approved by the governor.

Source. 1911, 198:1. 1925, 174:14. PL 174:4. 1939, 205:1. RL 210:4. 1953, 265:1, eff. July 1, 1953.

Section 273:4-a

    273:4-a Division of Workers' Compensation. –
I. There is hereby established within the department of labor the division of workers' compensation under the supervision of a classified director of workers' compensation who shall be under the direction of the commissioner. The director shall perform such duties as are assigned by the commissioner.
II. The division shall conduct annual reviews of the job descriptions of its employees and the qualifications for such descriptions to assure that the job descriptions are followed and the qualifications are met.
III. There is hereby created the classified position of assistant director of workers' compensation who shall be under the direction of the commissioner. The assistant director of workers' compensation shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the commissioner, including, but not limited to, such duties as are necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the commissioner under RSA 281-A:5 through 281-A:5-c and 281-A:11, or the regulation of public employer self-insured workers' compensation programs under RSA 5-B.

Source. 1990, 254:1. 1992, 43:2, eff. June 8, 1992.

Section 273:4-b

    273:4-b Internal Organization. –
The division of workers' compensation shall include the following internal organization units:
I. The bureau of rehabilitation management coordination.
II. The bureau of case dispute resolution coordination.
III. The bureau of hearing officers.
IV. The bureau of statistical analysis and audit.

Source. 1990, 254:1, eff. July 1, 1990.

Section 273:5

    273:5 Records. –
I. The records of the department of labor shall be public records open to the inspection of any person interested.
II. [Repealed.]

Source. 1911, 198:1. PL 174:6. RL 210:6. 1950, 5, part 18:1. 2004, 223:1. 2005, 278:4, eff. Sept. 20, 2005.

Section 273:6

    273:6 Disposal of Papers. – The commissioner may periodically destroy pursuant to RSA 8-B reports, records and other documents which are, in his opinion, no longer of any value to the state.

Source. 1945, 51:1. RSA 273:6. 1977, 125:1, eff. Aug. 1, 1977.

Section 273:7

    273:7 Deputy Commissioner. – The commissioner shall appoint a deputy labor commissioner. Said deputy shall exercise the powers and perform the duties of the commissioner whenever the labor commissioner is incapacitated, absent, unable to act from any cause, or whenever the commissioner deems it advisable and in the interest of all parties concerned. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of labor commissioner the deputy shall have the powers and duties of the commissioner until another commissioner is appointed and qualified.

Source. 1893, 48:4. PL 174:7. RL 210:7. RSA 273:7. 1955, 323:2. 1959, 202:1, eff. Sept. 21, 1959.

Section 273:8

    273:8 Compensation. – The salary of the deputy labor commissioner shall be that as fixed by RSA 94:1.

Source. 1893, 48:4. PL 174:8. RL 210:8. RSA 273:8. 1955, 323:2, eff. Aug. 5, 1955.

Section 273:9

    273:9 Inspections. – The commissioner shall, at such times as he shall deem it necessary, and without notice, visit the manufacturing, mechanical and mercantile establishments in the state, so far as practicable, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the laws with reference to employment are complied with, and for the further purpose of ascertaining if reasonable sanitary and hygienic conditions are maintained, calculated to promote the health and welfare of the working people.

Source. 1911, 198:2. PL 174:9. RL 210:9.

Section 273:9-a

    273:9-a Proportionality of Inspections. – All inspections performed by the commissioner shall be proportional and relative to the potential violations being inspected. "Proportional" in this section shall be determined with reference to the importance of the issues at stake in the inspection, the degree to which the alleged violation involves risk of physical injury, the potential for lost wages, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, and the parties' resources.

Source. 2018, 312:1, eff. June 25, 2018.

Section 273:10

    273:10 Reports. – He shall transmit to the legislature a report upon these matters when he shall deem the occasion of sufficient importance, with such recommendations as he shall think advisable. He shall biennially make a report of the proceedings of the department of labor to the governor and council, containing the transactions of the office and such other matters and recommendations as he shall deem proper.

Source. 1911, 198:2, 9. 1913, 186:1. PL 174:10. RL 210:10. 1950, 5, part 18:1. RSA 273:10. 1973, 140:49, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.

Section 273:11

    273:11 Prosecutions; Injunctions. – Whenever the commissioner deems it necessary, the commissioner may investigate and may prosecute any offenses against the laws under the commissioner's jurisdiction. The commissioner may, with the consent of the attorney general, proceed in superior court or other court of competent jurisdiction to restrain by temporary or permanent injunctive relief an employer or owner subject to the laws administered by the department from conducting business at the affected facility. The temporary or permanent injunctive relief shall be effective for so long as issued following a hearing held pursuant to RSA 541-A under any provisions of title XII, title XXIII, or any provisions of this chapter. No ex parte order shall be issued under this section.

Source. 1911, 198:2. PL 174:11. RL 210:11. RSA 273:11. 1996, 34:3, eff. June 23, 1996.

Section 273:11-a

    273:11-a Civil Penalties. –
I. In addition to any criminal penalty provided under this title, the commissioner may, after hearing, impose a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500, as determined by the commissioner, for any violation of the provisions of, or any rule adopted pursuant to, this title, except RSA 273-A, RSA 273-C, and RSA 282-A. All moneys collected under this section shall be deposited in the general fund.
II. Except as provided in paragraph III, the commissioner shall issue one written warning to the employer. The employer shall have 30 days from receipt of the warning to cure the defect causing the violation.
III. No warning shall be issued if, in the opinion of the commissioner, the employer intends to cause harm, the violation poses a threat to public safety, or the violation involves any of the following:
(a) Failure to pay an employee in full and on time under RSA 275:43.
(b) Payment of wages by checks on a financial institution that is not convenient to the place of employment as required by RSA 275:43, I(e).
(c) Failure to pay final wages in full as required by RSA 275:44.
(d) Failure to pay amounts withheld for court ordered child support to the custodial parent.
(e) Continuation of wage withholding for insurance benefits that have been cancelled.
(f) Illegal withholding of wages to compensate employer for employee actions resulting in loss or damage.
(g) Failure to comply with RSA 275-A:4-a regarding undocumented workers.
(h) Requiring that employees to perform any illegal activities under threat of job loss.
IV. Any person on whom a penalty is imposed under this section may appeal as provided in RSA 273:11-c and 273:11-d.
V. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the conduct of hearings under paragraph IV.

Source. 1983, 389:1. 1996, 34:1. 2005, 177:101, eff. July 1, 2005; 241:5, eff. Jan. 1, 2006. 2011, 182:1, eff. Aug. 13, 2011; 224:53, eff. July 1, 2011. 2014, 49:1, eff. July 26, 2014; 123:2, eff. Aug. 15, 2014.

Section 273:11-b

    273:11-b Penalty Appeal Board. –
I. There is hereby created a penalty appeal board which shall hear appeals from penalties imposed by the commissioner.
II. The board shall be composed of 3 members, as follows:
(a) One person representing the interests of management, to be appointed by the governor and council;
(b) One person representing the interests of labor, to be appointed by the governor and council; and
(c) One person to serve as chairman, who shall be an attorney and who shall be familiar with the labor laws of this state. The chairman shall be chosen and appointed jointly by the other 2 members of the board; provided, however, that, if such members are unable to agree on the appointment of the chairman within 30 days after the later of their appointments, the governor and council shall appoint the chairman.
III. At the time of making appointments pursuant to paragraph II, the governor and council or 2 appointing members of the board, as applicable, shall also appoint an alternate member representing the interests of management, an alternate member representing the interests of labor and an alternate chairman, who shall serve whenever the corresponding member of the board is unable, because of a conflict of interest or otherwise, to participate in the determination of a matter before the board.
IV. Members and alternate members shall be appointed for terms of 3 years and shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms. Members and alternate members shall serve without compensation but shall receive mileage at the same rate paid to state employees.

Source. 1983, 389:1. 1991, 181:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1992. 2015, 97:1, eff. Aug. 4, 2015.

Section 273:11-c

    273:11-c Appeal. –
I. A person on whom the commissioner has imposed a penalty pursuant to RSA 273:11-a may appeal by filing a notice of appeal with the penalty appeal board within 15 business days after the commissioner's order. If no such notice is filed within this time limit, the commissioner's order shall become final and no appeal may be taken.
II. The penalty appeal board shall hear appeals de novo and shall not be bound by prior findings or determinations of the commissioner. An appeal shall be filed and presented and the hearing conducted in accordance with rules adopted by the board pursuant to RSA 541-A. Such rules need not conform to common law or statutory rules of evidence or other technical rules of procedure. The place and time of a hearing shall be determined by the board. In no case shall a hearing proceed unless the chairman or alternate chairman is present.
III. A full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings in connection with an appeal, and all testimony at any hearing shall be recorded verbatim.
IV. Within a reasonable time after the board has heard an appeal, the chairman shall prepare a written decision which shall be sent by certified mail to the last known address of the appealing party. The decision shall set forth all the material findings necessary to support the conclusions and shall either affirm, reverse or modify the order of the commissioner.

Source. 1983, 389:1, eff. Aug. 21, 1983.

Section 273:11-d

    273:11-d Judicial Review. –
I. A person who has appealed to the penalty appeal board and who is aggrieved by a final decision of the board may appeal that decision to the supreme court, but only if the notice of that appeal is filed with the court within 15 business days after the date of mailing of the decision and the notice of appeal is contemporaneously served on the commissioner and the board. The notice of appeal shall specifically identify each error for which review is sought. The filing of a notice of appeal shall not stay enforcement of the board's decision.
II. Within 60 days after the service of the notice of appeal upon the board, or within such further time allowed by the court, the board shall transmit to the court a certified copy of the entire record of the proceeding before the board. By stipulation of all parties to the review proceeding, the record may be shortened. If the record is shortened by stipulation, the court may subsequently require additional portions of the record certified.
III. The review of the court shall be confined to the record. No evidence shall be received in the court. The court may require oral argument or written briefs, or both.
IV. The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the board as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court shall reverse or modify the decision of the board, or remand the case for further proceedings, as determined by the court, only if the substantial rights of the appellant had been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, or conclusions are:
(a) In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
(b) In excess of statutory authority;
(c) Made upon unlawful procedures;
(d) Clearly erroneous in view of the substantial evidence on the whole record; or
(e) Affected by other error of law.
Otherwise the court shall affirm the board's decision.

Source. 1983, 389:1, eff. Aug. 21, 1983.

Board of Conciliation and Arbitration

Section 273:12

    273:12 Appointment. – There shall be a state board of conciliation and arbitration consisting of 3 members and 3 alternates. The governor, with the advice and consent of the council, shall annually, in June, appoint one member and one alternate whose terms shall be 3 years from the following July 1. One member and one alternate of the board shall be employers, or shall be selected from an association representing employers of labor; one member and one alternate shall be selected from labor organizations and shall not be employers of labor, and one member and one alternate shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the other 4 members and alternates, or, if they do not, at least 30 days prior to the expiration of a term, or within 30 days after the happening of a vacancy, agree upon a third member and a third alternate, they shall then be appointed by the governor without such recommendation.

Source. 1913, 186:1. PL 174:12. RL 210:12. RSA 273:12. 1983, 213:3, eff. June 16, 1983.

Section 273:13

    273:13 Oath; Chairman. – Each member shall be sworn before entering upon the duties of his office. The board shall choose from its members a chairman, who shall preside at its meetings.

Source. 1913, 186:1. PL 174:13. RL 210:13.

Section 273:14

    273:14 Seal. – The board shall have a seal which shall be like the seal of the state, except that the device thereon shall be surrounded by the words "N.H. State Board of Conciliation and Arbitration," and which shall be affixed by the chairman of said board to all official papers issued by it.

Source. 1917, 17:1. PL 174:14. RL 210:14.

Section 273:14-a

    273:14-a Single Arbiter. – Where conflict of interests prevents either employer or labor representative from serving on any case, upon written agreement of the representatives of the employer and employees involved in the dispute, the chairman may act as a single arbiter with all powers of the board.

Source. 1963, 216:1, eff. July 1, 1963.

Section 273:15

    273:15 Investigating Controversies. – Whenever any controversy or difference arises relating to the conditions of employment or rates of wages between any employer, whether resident or non-resident, and his employees, such controversy involving the interest of not less than 10 employees in the same general line of business in this state, the commissioner shall, upon application as hereinafter provided, visit the locality and make careful inquiry into all the conditions and circumstances of the situation, hear all persons interested therein who may come before him, advise the respective parties what, if anything, ought to be conceded by either or both, and adjust such controversy or difference and, within 5 days after such inquiry, make a written decision thereon, a copy of which shall be furnished the parties and a copy kept on file in the department of labor.

Source. 1911, 198:4. 1917, 142:1. PL 174:15. RL 210:15.

Section 273:16

    273:16 Applications for Investigations. – Said application shall be signed by the employer or by a majority of his employees in the department of the business in which the controversy or difference exists, or their duly authorized agent, or by both parties, and shall contain a concise statement of the grievance alleged, and shall be sworn to by at least one of the signers.

Source. 1911, 198:5. PL 174:16. RL 210:16.

Section 273:17

    273:17 Application by Agent. – When an application is signed by an agent claiming to represent a majority of such employees the commissioner shall, before proceeding further, satisfy himself by secret ballot or otherwise that such agent is duly authorized to represent a majority of such employees. If the commissioner requires such secret ballot all regular employees of the unit may vote thereat. If the commissioner does not require a secret ballot he shall require a statement in writing from a majority of the employees that said agent is duly authorized to represent them. In the latter case the names of the employees giving written authority to such agent shall be kept secret by the commissioner.

Source. 1911, 198:5. PL 174:17. RL 210:17. RSA 273:17. 1955, 75:1, eff. April 16, 1955.

Section 273:18

    273:18 Proceedings Not Evidence. – Neither the proceedings, nor any part thereof, before the labor commissioner by virtue of the foregoing provisions of this subdivision shall be received in evidence for any purpose in any judicial proceeding before any other court or tribunal.

Source. 1917, 142:1. PL 174:18. RL 210:18.

Section 273:19

    273:19 Failure to Agree. – Whenever in such case the employer and employees shall fail to agree to a settlement through the commissioner he shall endeavor to have them consent in writing to submit their differences to said board of arbitration.

Source. 1911, 198:6. 1913, 186:2. PL 174:19. RL 210:19.

Section 273:20

    273:20 Arbitration. – If arbitration is agreed to, the business shall continue on the existing basis, and the employees shall remain at work pending the decision of the board, which shall be rendered within 7 days after the completion of the hearing and shall be final.

Source. 1911, 198:6. 1913, 186:2. PL 174:20. RL 210:20.

Section 273:21

    273:21 Of Wages. – If said hearing is on a question of wages the decision shall revert to the date when the employees presented their demand in writing to said employer.

Source. 1911, 198:6. 1913, 186:1, 2. PL 174:21. RL 210:21.

Section 273:22

    273:22 Effect of Decision. – The decision shall be binding upon the parties concerned in said controversy for 6 months, or until 60 days after either party has given the other notice in writing of his or their intention not to be bound by the same. Such notice may be given to employees by posting the same in 3 conspicuous places in the place of employment.

Source. 1911, 198:6. 1913, 186:2. PL 174:22. RL 210:22.

Section 273:23

    273:23 Procedure. – The chairman of said board shall keep a record of the proceedings, issue subpoenas and administer oaths to the members of said board and to any witness the board may deem necessary to summon. Any notice or process issued by said board may be served by any sheriff or constable to whom the same may be directed, or in whose hands the same may be placed for service.

Source. 1911, 198:6. 1913, 186:2. PL 174:23. RL 210:23.

Section 273:24

    273:24 Compensation of Arbitrators. – Such arbitrators shall receive $50 a day for each day actually engaged in such arbitration and their necessary traveling expenses, to be paid upon vouchers signed by the commissioner, with the approval of the governor, out of the funds appropriated for the maintenance of the department of labor.

Source. 1911, 198:5. 1913, 186:2. PL 174:24. RL 210:24. RSA 273:24. 1955, 323:8. 1963, 216:2, eff. July 1, 1963.

Section 273:25

    273:25 Statements to Commissioner. – Upon the failure of the commissioner in any case to secure a reference to said board of arbitration, he shall request a sworn statement from each party to the dispute of the facts upon which their dispute and their reasons for not submitting the same to arbitration are based. Any statement made to the commissioner under this provision shall be for public use, and shall be given publicity in such newspapers as desire to use it.

Source. 1911, 198:6. 1913, 186:3. PL 174:25. RL 210:25.

Section 273:26

    273:26 Strikes; Lockouts. – Whenever it shall come to the knowledge of the commissioner, either by notice from the mayor of a city, a county commissioner, the president of a board of trade or other representative body, the president of a central labor council or assembly, or of any 5 reputable citizens or otherwise, that a strike or lockout is seriously threatened or has actually occurred in the state, involving an employer and his or its present or past employees, if at the time such employer is employing, or, up to the occurrence of the strike or lockout was employing, not less than 10 persons in the same general line of business in any city or town in this state, and the commissioner shall be satisfied that such information is correct, it shall be his duty, within 3 days thereafter, to put himself in communication with such employer and employees, and endeavor by mediation to effect an amicable settlement between them, or to persuade them to submit the matter to said board of arbitration, and to act as hereinbefore provided in case of disputes and controversies.

Source. 1911, 198:8. 1913, 186:4. PL 174:26. RL 210:26.

Section 273:27

    273:27 Investigations; Reports. – In case the parties do not agree to so submit the matter, the commissioner may investigate the cause of such controversy and ascertain which party thereto is mainly responsible for the continuance of the same, and may make and publish a report assigning such responsibility.

Source. 1911, 198:8. 1913, 186:4. PL 174:27. RL 210:27.

Commission to Review and Evaluate Workforce and Job Training Programs in New Hampshire

Section 273:28

    273:28 Repealed by 2018, 344:2, eff. Nov. 1, 2018. –

Commission to Study Acts of Violence by the Public Against State Employees

Section 273:28-a

    273:28-a Repealed by 2019, 138:2, eff. Nov. 1, 2019. –