Next Tuesday, November 4, 2014, many states will be conducting their respective gubernatorial and other elections. In anticipation of Election Day, employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure employees are provided proper time off to vote, as may be required by applicable law, as well as by stated policy. While some states do not mandate time off for voting (including the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia), others obligate employers to provide a certain amount of time off to employees for voting. Further, states vary on the amount of notice required, if any, by an employee who seeks time off to vote and whether the time off is to be paid.
Below are two states’ requirements for voting time off:
- Maryland requires every employer in the state to permit employees who claim to be registered voters to take off for up to two (2) hours on Election Day to vote if the employee does not have two (2) consecutive non-working hours to vote while the polls are open. Employees must be paid for their absence, up to two hours, and can be required to provide proof of voting. Maryland Election Law Code §10-315.
- New York requires employees to have a sufficient amount of leave time that, when combined to available time outside of working hours, will permit the employee to vote. New York law states that four (4) hours is considered sufficient time to vote. An employee is excluded from leave if he or she has four (4) consecutive hours in which to vote, either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of his or her work shift or the end of his or her work shift and the close of the polls. The employee must provide notice of leave between two and ten days prior to the election. The employer is free to specify the hours of leave to take to vote, which must be taken at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift, unless otherwise permitted. The employee cannot lose more than two hours of pay for voting leave. New York Election Law § 3-110.
Employers should also confirm that there are no local law requirements that vary what may need to happen on Election Day.