Navigating Time Off to Vote Laws

Beth Dean 04.15.24
Graphic - Blog 2024-04-16 Navigating Time Off to Vote Laws

As a presidential election year unfolds, employers must navigate the complex landscape of voting leave laws to uphold employees’ rights while ensuring compliance with state regulations. While federal law does not mandate time off to vote, many states have enacted specific provisions. Here’s what employers need to know to navigate this terrain effectively.

Understanding State Laws:

Each state has its own voting leave laws dictating whether employees are entitled to paid or unpaid time off, the duration of leave allowed, voting hours, and advance notice requirements. Employers must familiarize themselves with the specific regulations in their state to avoid potential violations.

In some cases, local regulations or even your company’s handbook may provide differing policies. In any scenario, your company must use the policy or law that benefits the employee the most.

Paid vs. Unpaid Leave:

While some states mandate paid leave for voting, others require only unpaid leave. Carefully review state laws to determine the company’s obligations regarding compensation for voting leave.

Time Allowed for Voting:

State laws vary regarding the duration of leave allowed for voting. Some require a specific number of hours, while others specify a reasonable amount of time necessary to vote. Some states don’t specify any voting time off at all, assuming the employee can vote before or after their shift. Employers should ensure employees have adequate time to cast their ballots without undue hardship.

Employer Responsibilities:

Employers should know voting hours in their state, time off laws (if any), and advance notice requirements for employees requesting time off to vote. 

To avoid potential violations of state voting leave laws, refrain from imposing restrictions on employees’ voting methods, such as requiring them to vote by mail. Instead, employees should be free to choose the method that best suits their needs and preferences.

For personalized help, please contact your HR Business Partner at Nextep – we’re happy to help!

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