Federal election law guarantees the right to vote but does not require that employers give employees time off to go to the polls. There are laws in 30 states that allow employees to take time off to vote under specific circumstances. Most of these laws require that employers compare work schedules to polling place hours to make sure that employees have two to three hours before or after work to vote.
Seven states, highlighted in yellow on the
There are 23 green states on the map where employees may be eligible for time off with pay. The most generous of these is
Many of these laws allow employers to require advance notice from employees seeking time off to vote. If you already have a policy about time off to vote take it out and make sure all employees and managers understand it. If you don’t have a policy and your state does not have any specific laws there is no need to create a policy now. If employees ask for time off you can tell them that they need to vote on their own time, during non-working hours.
For employers in states that have time off to vote laws check the requirements and create a policy to ensure compliance. There is no need to be more generous than state law but if you are make sure that the same advantages are extended to all employees. Don’t wait until November 3rd to tell employees that they must give you advance notice to request time off to vote. Resolve election day scheduling issues and questions next week. Clarify time off and pay requirements in advance in order to avoid conflict and confusion.