Following both Massachusetts and Maine, New Hampshire will prohibit non-compete agreements for employees who earn an hourly rate that is equal to or lesser than double the federal minimum wage.  The federal minimum wage, which NH follows, is $7.25 per hour.  This means that employers cannot require employees who make $14.50 per hour or less (or just over $30,000 or less) to sign a non-compete agreement as a condition of employment.

NH’s new law defines a noncompete agreement to mean “an agreement between an employer and a low-wage employee that restricts such low-wage employee from performing:

(1)  Work for another employer for a specified period of time;

(2)  Work in a specified geographical area; or

(3)  Work for another employer that is similar to such low-wage employee’s work for the employer who is a party to the agreement.”

The new restriction applies to noncompete agreements as defined under this section, not to other types of employment agreements such as nonsolicitation, nondisclosure, trade secret, intellectual property, or confidentiality agreements.   And under the statute, a “noncompete agreement entered into between an employer and a low-wage employee shall be void and unenforceable.”

Governor Sununu signed S.B. 197 into law in July.  It takes effect on September 8, 2019 and will be cited as RSA 275:70-a.

NH had previously enacted legislation restricting use of noncompete agreements.  Under RSA 275:70, NH employers must give a copy of a required noncompete agreement to a potential employee or applicant prior to the applicant’s acceptance of an offer of employment.