NH Senate votes to eliminate paper paycheck requirement

Measure would get rid of requirement that employees be offered the option

Under a bill approved Wednesday by the NH Senate, employers would no longer be required to offer paychecks to their employees but could pay them electronically or with a debit card instead.

Senate Bill 84 started out as simply enabling workers’ compensation payments to be made by direct deposit, but the Senate Commerce Committee tacked on an amendment deleting the requirement that employers paying employees electronically must offer a paycheck alternative if requested.

“None of my employees get paychecks,” said Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, who owns The Draft sports bar and restaurant in Concord. “It is important for them to get access to their money in expedient matter.”

But Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, said that the change would mean employees would have to accept payment in any form, even bitcoins. Such vagueness would “open the floodgates to litigation,” he said, making this bill “anti-employer.”

Sanborn scoffed at a “lot of gray-haired middle-aged” lawmakers “struggling with this newfound thing called technology” and added, “if we believe the world is going to embrace using different currency than we should move the ball forward.”

But there are still employees without a bank account or electronic access to one and require a paper check that can be converted old-fashioned cash, said Sen. Donna Soucy, D- Manchester.

“There is nothing in current law preventing employees from getting paid under any kind of technology,” Soucy argued. “The fundamental issue is that it should be the choice of the employee to receive a paycheck. What this bill does is take away that choice, and that is the problem.”

The Senate passed the bill, 14-9, sending it to the House. The Senate has previously passed similar legislation that did not become law.

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