What you need to know
Although there is no federal law that requires employers to grant employees leave to vote, some states require employers to grant such leave. These states vary in their voting leave requirements, including how much notice employees are required to give, in addition to whether voting leave is paid or unpaid.
What you need to do
Consult the summary provided for voting leave requirements in New York and the New England states and consult an attorney with regard to voting leave in other states.
With November elections almost here, now is a good time for employers to understand their legal obligations, if any, with regard to granting employees leave to vote. The following is a summary of the requirements in New York and the New England states. Employers are advised to consult their attorneys should they have any questions regarding their obligations for granting employees leave to vote.
Connecticut does not have a voting leave law.
Maine does not have a voting leave law.
Most employers are required to provide employees with up to two hours of unpaid leave in the first two hours after the polls open in the employee’s voting precinct. These employees must apply for leave, although they may do so as late as the day before the election. All polling places must be open a minimum of 13 hours, from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, which eliminates most requests for leave to vote.
New Hampshire does not have a voting leave law.
Employers are required to do the following:
- post in the workplace a notice setting forth the New York voting leave statute at least ten working days before the election and through the close of polls on election day;
- provide employees who have less than four consecutive nonworking hours in which to vote with as much leave time as is necessary, when including the employee’s available time outside of working hours, to enable the employee to vote; and
- pay employees for up to two hours of their voting leave.
Additionally, employers may designate whether employees must take that leave at the beginning or end of a work shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed. Employees must notify their employers of such leave at least two but not more than ten working days prior to the election.
Rhode Island does not have a voting leave law.
Vermont does not have a voting leave law.