Although there isn’t a federal law ensuring paid time off for employee voting, New York requires employers provide employees up to two hours of paid time off if the employee does not have “sufficient time to vote.”
How does NYS law define “sufficient time to vote?” An employee has “sufficient time to vote” if she has four consecutive hours to vote before or after her shift. For example, if the polls are open from 9:00am to 9:00pm on November 8th, and the employee works from 9:00am to 5:00pm, then she has sufficient time to vote and isn’t entitled to paid time off. However, if she works from 9:00am to 6:00pm, then she’s entitled to paid time off as she only has three hours after her shift before the polls close.
If your employees qualify for paid time off, they must be given up to a maximum of two hours off to vote, depending on several factors including lines at the polls and transportation.
If an employee intends to take time off to vote, she must inform the employer no later than two working days and no earlier than ten working days before Election Day. Working days are business days, not weekends or holidays.
New York law requires employers to alert employees about these rules by posting a voting leave notice. And now’s the time to do it. Not less than ten days before Election Day, employers must post notices containing information about the voting leave law. For example, the posting may include the following:
1. As a registered voter, you may take up to two hours of paid time off to allow you to vote.
2. You may take time off at the beginning or end of your working shift, as your employer may designate, unless otherwise mutually agreed.
3. You must notify your employer not less than two working days before election day that you require time off to vote.
A useful, New York-issued poster can be found here.
With Election Day quickly approaching, ensure your company is compliant with New York law. The Coppola Firm is here to support you and your workplace through this busy time.