Federal midterm and statewide elections are scheduled in New York State on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. As such, employers must ensure that they comply with New York’s voting leave law. Under N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(1), employers must provide their employees with “sufficient time” so that employees may vote. Pursuant to N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(2), employers are not required to provide leave if an employee has four consecutive voting hours either before or after his or her work shift or if the employee has sufficient time between the end of a working shift and the closing of the polls. In New York State, polls are open between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST for general elections. For employees who do not have sufficient time to vote during their normal workday, New York’s voting leave law requires that employers provide up to two hours of paid leave to vote—at either the beginning or the end of an employee’s shift. Under N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(3), employees seeking paid leave must notify their employer between 2 to 10 working days prior to the election—or between October 21 and October 30, 2014 for the upcoming election.
Employers also should be mindful that New York law requires the posting of a notice at least 10 working days prior to every election. New York law requires that every employer post this notice “conspicuously in the place of work,” and it must remain in place until the close of the polls on November 4, 2014. Given that New York law broadly requires this posting prior to “every election,” New York employers may wish to simply include the election leave posting as part of their ongoing compliance posters. A sample poster can be found on the New York State Board of Elections website.