Millions of Americans across the country will cast their ballots today. Although most polling places are available to employees outside of their normal working hours, some workers may need to take time off to vote.
While the right to vote is guaranteed under federal law, state laws dictate whether employers are required to allow workers to take time off to cast their ballots. In fact, the majority of states have some form of formal regulation governing voting rights by employees. Many states mandate that employees cannot be penalized for voting-related absences, and several even mandate that employees must be paid for any time spent voting. The penalties for violating these laws can range from $25 to $10,000.
New Jersey is one of the few states that do not have any laws governing time off to vote. Therefore, employers are permitted to implement their own policies.
New York employers, however, must comply with New York State Law § 3-110. The law mandates that a registered voter may, without loss of pay for up to two hours, take off so much working time as will, when added to his voting time outside his working hours, enable him to vote. Employees must request the leave between 2 and 10 days before Election Day. The employer is also allowed to determine whether the voting leave is taken at beginning or end of the shift.
If you have any questions about voting leave or would like to discuss your company’s other leave policies, please contact me or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.