The 2010 Municipal Elections will be held on October 25 and polling stations will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. The Municipal Elections Act states that on polling day, all employees who are Canadian citizens, a resident of an electoral district in Ontario, are at least 18 years of age and who are not prohibited from voting for any other reason, are entitled to three consecutive hours off from work in order to vote without any loss of pay. If the employee’s hours of work are such that he or she would not otherwise have three consecutive hours to vote, he or she is entitled to be absent from work as long as is necessary to allow for that amount of time.

The absence should be timed to suit the employer’s convenience as much as possible, and the employer cannot deduct pay or impose any other penalty for the absence.

The decision as to which hours during the working day an employee is allowed to be absent is to be made at the convenience of the employer. For example, an employee who works from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., has at least three hours to vote after normal working hours and time off need not be given. Alternatively, if an employee works from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. some time off must be given to allow for voting, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be during the middle of the employee’s working day. In this last example, if the employee were allowed to leave work at 5:00 p.m. he or she would still have at least three hours in which to vote.