Many employers are unaware of state voting leave laws, which we anticipate will be heavily relied upon this year given the challenges presented by the pandemic. Most states require employers to provide at least a few hours off to vote.
Further, many of these states require at least some of that time off to be paid. Typically, the advance notice required from employees is often minimal. As a result, employers should be prepared to grant last-minute requests to vote.
In addition to this, California and New York also have posting requirements for voting leave. These postings must be in a conspicuous location in the workplace. However, employees who are working from home or who do not report to the workplace regularly should be provided with these notices electronically.
California requires employers to post these notices at least 10 days before the election. This year, that falls on October 24, a Saturday. For Monday through Friday workplaces in California, we recommend posting or sending this notice by Friday the 23rd. California’s notice can be found in English here and in other languages here.
New York requires employers to post these notices at least 10 working days before the election. That falls on October 20 for a Monday through Friday workplace. New York’s notice is available here.
Employers in states with early voting may want to encourage employees to take advantage of that option—by offering the same time off benefit—to reduce the number of absences on Election Day. However, the availability of early voting and absentee ballots does not change an employee’s right to vote on Election Day if that is their preference.
We encourage employers to visit the HR Support Center and search for “voting” to learn about the voting leave law in their state. We have also created a Quickstart Guide that addresses political conversations in the workplace and ways that employers can support employees’ ability to vote—you can find it by searching for “Quickstart voting.”
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