The general election is just weeks away, meaning that now is the time for Alabama employers to ensure that they are compliant with Alabama’s laws concerning voting leave and election duty leave.
All Alabama employees are entitled to no more than one hour of leave for the purpose of voting in any municipal, county, state, or federal primary or election for which the employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day in question. Importantly, this leave is not available to employees whose hours of work commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least one hour prior to the closing of the polls. Ala. Code § 17-1-5. For example, if the polls open at 7:00 a.m. and an employee’s shift begins at 9:30 a.m., then the employee is not entitled to voting leave. Likewise, an employee is not entitled to voting leave if the polls close at 6:30 p.m., and his or her shift ends at 5:00 p.m.
The employee must provide “reasonable notice” to the employer prior to being granted such leave, and the employer may specify the hours during which the employee may leave work in order to vote. Ala. Code § 17-1-5. The statute does not define what may be considered “reasonable notice,” so it would be best to begin preparing now for periodic absences on November 6.
Also, Alabama employers with more than 25 employees must permit any employee who is a properly appointed election official to take leave for election days in order to perform the duties required by such appointment. Such employees must provide documentation to the employer of the appointment and the dates of required service at least seven days prior to the date(s) of expected absence, and employers are not required to compensate employees for time taken for such leave. Ala. Code § 17-8-13.