Alert / Employee Benefits
Voting 2020: Employer responsibilities and employee rights

With Election Day fast approaching, the below overview highlights what employers need to know about state law voting rights.

Key considerations include knowing whether the applicable state law requires:

  • Employers to provide time off work to vote.
  • Employers to pay employees for time off work to vote.
  • Employees to notify employers if they intend to take time off work to vote.
  • Employers to provide time off work to volunteer on Election Day.

While there is little consistency among the states on these issues, only Alabama, California and New York require employers to post a notice about voting rights.

Is time off work to vote required?

Several states have no law addressing employee leave for voting, including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C.

The remaining states have laws that allow employees leave from work to vote in certain circumstances. For instance, in California, an employee may have up to two hours at the beginning or end of a work shift to vote. In Alabama, an employer must allow an employee time off to vote unless the employee’s work shift starts two or more hours after polls open or the shift ends at least one hour before polls close. Massachusetts permits leave from work during the first two hours the polls are open. Other states have similar laws that require time off work to vote unless poll hours provide an opportunity to vote before or after a work shift. Even so, with the pandemic and potentially long lines at the polls, providing employees with some leeway is recommended.

No leave to vote required when work shift starts two or more hours after polls open or ends at least two hours before polls close:

  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota
  • Texas

No leave to vote required when work shift starts two or more hours after polls open or ends at least three hours before polls close:

  • New Mexico

No leave to vote required when work shift starts four or more hours after polls open or ends at least four hours before polls close:

  • New York

No leave to vote required when work shift starts three or more hours after polls open or ends at least three hours before polls close:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Leave to vote required without regard to work shift:

  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

Is an employee paid for time off work to vote?

For states providing employees with time off to vote, many states require employers to pay employees for the time taken off work to vote.

States requiring paid time off to vote:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California*
  • Colorado*
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York*
  • Ohio^
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

*Up to two hours
^Salaried employees only

Is an employee required to notify an employer or provide documentation when taking time off work to vote?

No notice or documentation required:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Reasonable notice or request made prior to election day:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa^
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri*
  • Nebraska*
  • Nevada
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin

*To get paid
^In writing

Request for time off required:

  • By noon the day before Election Day: Tennessee
  • Two working days’ notice: California, New York
  • Three days’ notice: Oklahoma, West Virginia*
  • Seven days’ notice: Vermont

*Written request required

Is time off work to volunteer as an election worker permitted?

Some corporations are encouraging employee participation in the upcoming election and are revising workplace policies to provide employees with paid time off while volunteering at the polls.

The majority of states have no laws regarding volunteer work on Election Day. 

State law protection for election volunteers — Notice required

  • Reasonable notice: Virginia
  • Seven days’ notice: Alabama, Wisconsin
  • 20 days’ notice: Illinois, Minnesota

State law protection for election volunteers – No notice required

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio

 

Not legal advice: Nothing in this alert should be construed as legal advice. Lockton may not be considered your legal counsel, and communications with Lockton's HR Compliance Consulting group are not privileged under the attorney-client privilege. 

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