If an employee asks for time off to vote in the upcoming election, do you know what your legal obligations are? As a responsible employer, you certainly want to encourage employees to exercise their constitutional right to vote. And as a law-abiding employer, you also want to be aware of any state-specific laws that require you to provide time off from work to vote.
There is no federal law mandating voting leave, but 29 states require it, particularly when an employee’s work schedule doesn’t offer enough time to vote during regular polling hours. State laws vary regarding whether you must provide paid time off to vote, or if you have the right to designate the time of day when leave should be taken, such as the start or end of the employee’s workday. Further still, in a couple of states — California and New York — you must display postings advising employees of their voting-leave rights.
What Do State-Specific Voting Laws Dictate?
To implement a clear, legally sound time off to vote policy, be sure to review the specific requirements for your state and address them in the policy. Share this policy with all employees well in advance of Election Day, and get written acknowledgment that they’ve received it. Check local laws, as well, to see if any the provisions are more generous than state law, in which case you must uphold them.
Here is a sampling of applicable laws among the nearly 30 states with voting time off requirements:
|States||Amount of Voting Time?||Paid Time?||Designate Timing?|
|Arizona||Up to 3 hours, unless polls are open 3 consecutive, nonworking hours||Yes||Yes|
|California||Sufficient time at start or end of work schedule||Yes, up to 2 hours||Yes, at start or end of shift or as mutually agreed|
|Colorado||2 hours, unless polls are open 3 nonworking hours||Yes||Yes, at start or end of shift|
|Illinois||Up to 2 hours||Yes||Yes|
|Maryland||Up to 2 hours, unless polls are open 2 consecutive nonworking hours||Yes||Not specified|
|New York||Sufficient time off, unless polls are open 4 consecutive, nonworking hours||Yes, up to 2 hours||Yes, at start or end of shift or as mutually agreed|
|Nevada||Up to 3 hours (depending on distance) unless sufficient time exists during nonworking hours||Yes||Yes|
|Oklahoma||At least 2 hours, unless polls are open 3 consecutive, nonworking hours||Yes||Yes|
|South Dakota||Up to 2 hours, unless polls are open 2 consecutive, nonworking hours||Yes||Yes|
|Texas||Not specified, but time off not required if polls are open 2 consecutive, nonworking hours||Yes||Yes, as long as sufficient time is allowed|
|Wyoming||1 hour, unless polls are open 3 or more consecutive, nonworking hours||Yes||Yes, but not during mealtimes|
Understand and Meet Your Obligations with State Voting Laws
For more details on voting right laws in your state, download this handy chart at HRdirect.com. The chart covers the specifics for all 29 states, including additional information on whether employees need to provide advance notice of any requests.
And to keep your business up to date with all mandatory labor law postings — including any postings covering voting-leave rights — enroll in Poster Guard® Compliance Protection. We guarantee our posters are 100% compliant with all federal, state, county and city regulations. In fact, if you’re ever found out of compliance, we pay the fines. It’s an added level of protection that other poster providers simply cannot provide.