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Employee Handbook Changes for Fringe Benefits Must Be Signed

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The New Hampshire Department of Labor recently decided a wage claim against an employer who had handed out to its employees a paragraph that was to be inserted into the employee handbook. The paragraph said that if an employee became employed by a competitor they would forfeit all vacation, sick and personal time accrued. The employee in question denied ever receiving the addendum to the handbook but both sides agreed he had never signed anything acknowledging receipt of that change. When the employee was denied over $3,000 in vacation and sick time he appealed to the Department of Labor and it ruled in his favor.

Under New Hampshire law, the employer must obtain a signed notification from an employee reflecting a change of its practices or policies affecting paid vacations, holidays, sick leave, bonuses, severance pay, personal days, payment of employee expenses, pensions or other fringe benefit for it to be effective. That does not mean the employee can negate the employer’s changes but the employee must acknowledge receipt of the change.