With Midterms Approaching, Think About Voting Leave

October 30, 2018 |

Image result for public domain vote images

Midterm elections are one week away.  What does this mean for employers?  We write often about how the political climate impacts employment laws and, therefore, employers.  But, today’s post addresses the purely practical issue that voting can present in the workplace:  employees want to vote and voting times often conflict with work schedules.  Do employers have obligations to ensure an employee can vote?  It depends on the state in which the employer is operating.  Some states don’t address time off to vote what all.  Others, require that time off be granted with pay.

Here’s a selection of voting leave laws by state.  This is not a complete list – many states not listed here have voting leave laws, so please reach out if you have questions about your obligations regarding time off to vote.

  • Arizona:  An employer must provide up to three consecutive hours of paid leave at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift, unless the has three consecutive nonworking hours before or after the shift while the polls are open.
  • California:  An employer must provide enough time off, either at the beginning or the end of the shift, that will enable the employee to vote, unless the employee has “sufficient” nonworking time to vote.  Time off up to two hours must be paid; additional time is unpaid.  California employers also have an obligation to post notice of this right.
  • Kentucky:  An employer must provide up to four hours of unpaid time off while the polls are open.
  • Massachusetts:  Employees in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile organizations are entitled to two hours of unpaid leave immediately after the opening of the polls.
  • Nevada:  An employer must provide paid leave in a duration (ranging between 1 and 3 hours) dependent on the distance the employee must travel to vote.
  • Wisconsin:  An employer must be provide up to three hours of unpaid leave while the polls are open.

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