As Election Day (Tuesday, November 4, 2008) approaches, all clients and friends of the Firm are reminded to review your company’s employee handbook and/or policy statement regarding time-off to vote. As many of you know, most states require employers to provide employees with time off to vote. Below, we have summarized the laws of several states where many Firm clients have operations.

Illinois: Employees are entitled to two hours of time off to vote between the open and closing of the polls. Employees must request the leave of absence prior to Election Day. Employers must permit a two-hour absence period during working hours, if the employee’s working hours begin less than two hours after the opening of the polls and end less than two hours before the closing of the polls. Time-off to vote is paid time.

Wisconsin: Employers must provide employees with up to three consecutive hours of time off between the opening and closing of the polls. Employers may require that employees apply for voting leave prior to Election Day. Employers may specify the time that the employee may be absent. The time-off need not be paid.

Ohio: Employers must provide employees reasonable time off to vote. The Ohio voting leave law does not indicate whether the time-off is paid or unpaid.

Tennessee: Employees may be absent to vote for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed three hours during the time the polls are open in the county where the employee is a resident. Employers may specify the hours during which the employee can be absent. Employees must apply for the time off to vote before twelve o‘clock noon on the day before the election. If the employee begins work three or more hours after the opening of the polls or the employee’s work day ends three or more hours before the closing of the polls, the employee is not entitled to time-off. Time-off to vote is paid time.

Texas: Employers must provide employees paid time off between the opening and closing of the polls, unless there are two nonworking hours during the time the polls are open.

California: Employers must provide up to two hours paid time off to employees who do not have sufficient time outside working hours to vote. Employers may require employees give at least two working days notice. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, voting time must be at the beginning or end of the regular work shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular work shift.

New York: Unless there are four consecutive nonworking hours between the opening and closing of the polls, employers must provide employees who do not have sufficient time outside working hours up to two hours paid time off in which to vote. If the employee needs more than two hours off to vote, the employer is not required to pay for such time off. Employers may require that employees apply for voting leave not more than 10 nor less than two working days prior to Election Day. Unless otherwise mutually agreed, employers may require that voting time be taken at the beginning or end of the work day.

New Jersey: New Jersey does not have a voting leave law.