Biweekly pay bill OKd in House committee

Measure would allow employees to be paid every other week without state permission
‘This is a pro-business measure|!!|’ says NH Rep. Tammy Simmons|!!| R-Manchester of House Bill 1252.

Employers would be able to pay their workers every two weeks without the state’s permission, if House Bill 1252, passed March 1 by the House Labor Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee, becomes law.

The bill, which passed on a 12-9 vote, was amended to let the state Department of Labor revoke that privilege on a temporary basis if the department has “good and sufficient” reasons, but it could allow the employer to resume a biweekly schedule if “deficiencies” are corrected.

The amendment did not specify what those deficiencies could be, but in the past the department has denied permission for biweekly pay periods if an employer is behind in pay, has other labor violations, is in financial trouble, or the workers face a hardship by waiting two weeks to receive their wages.

It was the last issue that those voting against the bill emphasized.

“It’s a hardship for those who are on a low wage and are living hand to mouth not to have their pay,” said Rep. Douglas Ley, D-Jaffrey. “It might save some money for businesses, but there is no evidence that it is passed on to their employees.”

But there is no evidence that employers don’t pass on the savings, retorted Rep. Tammy Simmons, R-Manchester. Payroll companies charge about $150 per week for their services, she said, so biweekly pay checks can save the employer about $4,000 a year.

“This is a pro-business measure,” she said.

The truth is that the “employer can do this now,” said Rep. Will Infantine, R-Manchester, chair of the committee.

The DOL rarely turns down a request for a biweekly pay period. Indeed, the practice has become so ubiquitous that many employers don’t know that they need permission, only finding out when cited by the state DOL that they are violating the law by paying their workers every other week without permission.

But opponents of the measure said that the law change would encourage more employers to go biweekly, and that could make life difficult for low-wage workers.

Infantine didn’t think so.

“You have to give the benefit of the doubt to the employers. They know their workforce,” he said. “I’m confident you aren’t going to have a rush of companies switch to biweekly because of this.”

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