Election day is November 6, 2012. New York State employers are reminded of their obligation to post a notice in the workplace informing employees of their right to time off from work to vote. This notice must be posted at least ten working days before the election (no later than October 23, 2012), and must stay posted until the close of the polls on election day. Note that New York State law requires such notice to be posted before "every election," not just the general election, so employers may want to consider posting this notice permanently in the same place as other workplace notices are posted. The notice must be posted conspicuously where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work. This requirement applies to all New York State employers, regardless of size.
The notice must inform New York State employees of the right to take up to two hours of paid leave to vote on election day, if an employee does not have enough time outside of his or her working hours to vote. In order to be eligible for such leave, an employee must be a registered voter. If an employee has four consecutive hours either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of his or her scheduled working hours, or between the end of his or her scheduled working hours and the closing of the polls, he or she is deemed to have sufficient time to vote and will not be eligible for such leave. If an employee requires time off to vote, he or she must notify the employer between two and ten working days before the election (for this election, between October 23rd and November 2nd). An employee may take as much time off to vote as, when added to voting time outside of working hours, is sufficient to enable him or her to vote. An employer may require an employee to take voting leave at either the beginning or end of the employee's work shift (and, although not required, an employer may mutually agree with an employee on another time for voting leave, such as during the employee's lunch break). An employer is not permitted to reduce an employee's wages or otherwise penalize an employee for requesting or taking time off to vote.
A sample notice that can be posted to satisfy these requirements can be found on the New York State Board of Elections website. Employers who have not already done so should post a notice by tomorrow, October 23, 2012.