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 that employers provide at least a few hours off to vote, and many of those require that at least some of that time off be paid. The advance notice that may be required from employees is often minimal, so employers should be prepared to grant last-minute requests to vote.
California and New York also require that a notice about employees’ voting rights be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace. Employees who are working from home or who do not report to the workplace regularly should be provided with these notices electronically.
• California requires that the notice be posted at least 10 days before the election—which is 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 that the notice be posted at least 10 working days before the election, which is October 20 in 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. The availability of early voting and absentee ballots, however, 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.”