As Americans prepare to cast a ballot in the upcoming presidential election, employers should be prepared for the disruption that an election day can bring. Most states permit employees to take a reasonable period of time away from work to vote while the polls are open on Election Day. State voting laws vary as to the amount of leave employees can take, whether they must submit a request before Election Day to take the voting leave and whether employers can designate what time of day employees can be away from work to vote. Some state statutes specify when leave to vote must be taken and whether the leave must be paid. Other states have no statute that addresses voting leave.

Employers may be able to discipline employees who take leave to vote but do not actually vote. If your company depends on workers to be available for work during specific times, prepare for Election Day by knowing what legal constraints may allow employees to be away from work to cast their votes.