‘Yes’ on Allowing Employees Time Off to Vote

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Rick Rossignol

USA Election Voter Going to Polling Place Station

While employers must allow their employees time off to participate in jury duty, companies have different rules about whether this time out of office is paid or not.

Like jury duty, some of the details regarding employers’ expectations on Election Day can be murky. But murky or not, RTR Consulting wants employers to know they’re responsible for having a plan in place that allows their workers time to vote on November 6.

What is the Law?

Most states prevent employers from firing or taking disciplinary action against an employee who takes time off work to vote.

California law states that employees are allowed to take off no more than two hours to vote if they are unable to do so during their non-work hours. This law gives workers the chance to vote if they would otherwise be unable to because of their work schedules.

The law also states that employees can take as much time as they need to vote but keep in mind that only up to two hours will be paid.

“Californians should make a plan now for how they will cast a ballot on Election Day,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement. “Every registered voter has a right to cast their ballot before the polls close. If you can’t make it to your polling place outside of working hours, you have the right to take time off to vote, without a loss of pay.”

Give Notice

If you haven’t already, post a notice in your workplace informing your employees about their voting rights. Employers should know what the policy is for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections. The notice must be posted either in a visible location in the office or where it can be seen when workers enter or exit their workplace.

These “Time off to Vote” notices can be downloaded for free on the Secretary of State’s office website in multiple languages.

Employees’ Responsibilities

Workers may have the freedom to vote, but it’s important for employees to know that their employers might have special regulations for Election Day. For example, employers may require employees to give notice in advance if they’ll need additional time off to vote. Also, employers may limit workers’ time off for voting at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift.

Having diligent, hardworking employees is crucial for businesses to thrive but as their employer, it is your job to ensure they get to exercise their voting rights.

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 6; polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

RTR Consulting has more than 20 years devoted to developing effective and efficient human resources policies, procedures, and best practices for small, start-ups, and medium-sized businesses. Contact us today if you need help keeping your business running smoothly.

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