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HR Compliance: Employer Obligations on Election Day

Posted by David Peasall, VP, Benefits and Human Resources on Nov 2, 2018 8:00:00 AM
David Peasall, VP, Benefits and Human Resources

Know the Voting Leave Laws in Your State

election-dayElection Day is just a few days away and predictions indicate high voter turnout on November 6. Employers should prepare for an increase in the number of employees requesting time off to cast their ballots, and know their applicable state and local voting leave laws. Although some states don’t impose any requirements on employers, voting leave and notice requirements are legally required in some states with the possibility of criminal or civil penalties for non-compliance.

Laws related to election day and voting leave vary by state. In some states, paid voting leave is required, others allow unpaid leave. State laws also include variations of the amount of time that must be provided, and whether an employer can dictate which hours are taken off, such as the start or end of the workday. Some states only require employers to provide voting leave if the employee will not have enough time to vote before or after the scheduled workday.

In other states, if the employee does not vote, even though he or she took time off for that purpose, the employer can dock pay for the hours the employee took off from work. Posting regulations also vary state to state. Let’s look at some examples.

In California, the following voting leave rules apply:

  • Notice: Employees must give two working days’ advance notice prior to the election if the employee knows or has reason to believe they will need time off to vote.
  • Hours: Time off to vote may be taken only at the beginning or end of the work shift, whichever allows the greatest amount of free time for voting and least time off from work, unless otherwise agreed upon.
  • Paid: Only two hours of the time taken off for voting is paid.
  • Posting Requirement: Employers must post a notice of voting time requirements at least 10 days before an election. Employers can satisfy this requirement by posting a copy of the “Time Off to Vote” notice available here.

In New York, similar voting leave rules apply:

  • Notice: The employee must provide notice of leave at least two, but not more than 10, days prior to the election. Hours: The employer may specify the hours. Leave must be given at the beginning or end of the work shift, as the employer may designate, unless otherwise agreed.
  • Paid: Only two hours of the time taken off for voting is paid.
  • Posting Requirement: Employers must post a notice of voting time requirements at least 10 days before an election. The notice must be kept posted until the close of the polls on election day. Employers can find a copy here.

In Florida, the law does not require an employer to allow employees time off, paid or unpaid, to vote. However, Florida law prohibits an employer from firing or threatening to fire any employee for voting or not voting in an election, for a particular candidate, or for a specific ballot measure. An employer that violates this law may be guilty of a third degree felony.

Take a look at the chart below to see whether voting leave (paid or unpaid) is required in your state and then be sure to understand the applicable laws.

voting-leave-state

Some jurisdictions also require employers to provide time off to employees who serve as election officials or to serve in an elected office. If you have questions about state and federal leave laws, including The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or any other employment law, consult with a human resources professional at FrankCrum by calling 1-866-697-6576 or emailing FrankAdvice@FrankCrum.com.

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Topics: Human Resources

David Peasall, VP, Benefits and Human Resources

Written by David Peasall, VP, Benefits and Human Resources

David Peasall joined FrankCrum in 2010. Since that time, he has served as the Vice President, Benefits and Human Resources overseeing human resources, employee benefits, and group health sales. Serving in the Army, he began his 20+ year career in human resources and benefits administration and has held several management positions within the corporate and public human resources environments overseeing employee benefits sales and administration, recruitment, compensation, employee relations, organizational development, and compliance. He has the nationally recognized designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), PPACA certification from NAHU, and a Bachelor’s degree from Barry University with a dual major in Human Resources Management and Health Services Administration. He has written for the Society for Human Resources Management, HR Insight, Proyecto Magazine, and for online publications in the restaurant and health care industries. While not at work, this Florida native loves spending time with his family, preferably boating, fishing, and diving the beautiful waters of Florida.

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