Voting Leave Compliance

 In Employees, Human Resources, Managing COVID-19

Most states require that employers provide at least a few hours off to vote, and many of those require that at least some of that time off be paid…

The 2020 Presidential Election is nearing a close with election day coming Tuesday, November 3rd. Many employers are unaware of state voting leave laws, which is anticipated to be heavily relied upon this year given the challenges presented by the pandemic.

Most states require that employers provide at least a few hours off to vote, and many of those require that at least some of that time off be paid. The advance notice that may be required from employees is often minimal, so employers should be prepared to grant last-minute requests to vote. Two hours is the most common allowance, and generally the employer can require that the employee take it at the beginning or end of their work day. The amount of time employees must be allowed often depends on how much time they have before or after their shift while the polls are open.

Employers in Ohio should allow employee a reasonable amount of time to vote on election day. An employer cannot take or threaten to take any adverse action against an employee for taking leave to vote and cannot otherwise try to influence an employee’s vote.

In addition to providing time to vote, employers with employees in California and New York State require that a notice about employees’ voting rights be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace, just as the employer would with labor law posters and the mandatory FFCRA posting. Employees who are working from home or who do not report to the workplace regularly should be provided with these notices electronically.

  • California requires that the notice be posted at least 10 days before the election—which is October 24, a Saturday. For Monday through Friday workplaces in California, we recommend posting or sending this notice by Friday the 23rd.
  • New York requires that the notice be posted at least 10 working days before the election, which is October 20 in a Monday through Friday workplace.

Employers in states with early voting may want to encourage employees to take advantage of that option—by offering the same time off benefit—to reduce the number of absences on Election Day. The availability of early voting and absentee ballots, however, does not change an employee’s right to vote on Election Day if that is their preference. You can read more about politics in the workplace here.

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