BPHR’s Director Lisa Salcido, SPHR, SHRM-SCP provides answers to your pressing HR questions.
Question: Do we have to pay employees for time off to vote?
You may need to allow workers time off to vote and yes, you may even need to pay them for it. As Election Day approaches, here is what employers need to know about voting leave laws.
There is no federal law that mandates voting leave, but most states provide employees the right to take time off to vote and many states require that the time be paid. A few states also require that employers post a notice about voting leave rights prior to an election and prohibit firing or disciplining employees that take time off to vote. New York requires all of these.
New York State Election Law says that if a registered voter does not have four consecutive non-working hours to vote while the polls are open, they are eligible to take off up to two hours of paid time to vote.
Workers must notify their employer at least two working days prior to the election if they require time off to vote. Employees cannot be required to utilize PTO, vacation, or any other form of earned leave to vote. Conspicuous notice of voting rights must be posted at least ten working days before every election.
New Jersey does not have a law that provides time off from work to vote but it is unlawful for employers to interfere with an employee’s right to vote.
Even in states where there is no voting leave law, it is best practice to ensure workers have enough time off to vote. Review voting leave obligations in every state where your employees work, including home locations of teleworkers, and communicate your policy in your handbook. Keep in mind that state voting leave laws are not limited to national presidential elections but apply during local elections also.
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DISCLAIMER: The material presented on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion.