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Time Off To Vote Laws That Employers Must Follow – A Guide to All 50 States

With Election Day fast approaching, employers need to know what their workers are entitled to in terms of time off come Election Day. For companies that use temporary workers, it’s a good idea to check with your staffing provider regarding what (if any!) arrangements they have made for the staff they’ll have on your premises on November 6th. Penalties for not allowing workers time off to vote vary state by state, but if you have a co-employment relationship with your staffing provider, your company could be held equally accountable for their oversights.
 

Here’s a general guide to the Time Off To Vote law in all 50 states, though as always, you should check with your legal council to determine specific protocols for your company. 
 

Alabama allows employees an hour to hit the polls during work hours on voting day as long as they give prior notice to their employer. However, they only get this privilege if the polls are closed within 2 hours either side of their shift. They are not entitled to pay for any time they do take off. 
 

Alaska workers are allowed to take as much time off as needed to go and vote if the polls aren’t open for two hours before or after their shift. No prior notice is required to be given and workers are entitled to be paid for that time.
 

Arizona allows their employees to take leave if the polls are open for less than three hours before or after their shift. It is a requirement for employees to request time off beforehand, but it is considered as paid time off.
 

Arkansas does not give paid time off on Election Day for its employees. However, Arkansas employers are required to schedule time for their employees to be able to vote during work hours.
 

California gives up to two hours of paid time off to workers on Election Day if they do not have “sufficient time” outside of working hours to be able to vote. However, they must give at least two working days notice of their intentions. The time off may be taken at either the beginning or end of the worker’s shift, whichever allows the worker to take the least amount of time away from their job. The employer must also post a notice outlining employee voting rights 10 days prior Election Day. 
 

Colorado also gives its workers up to two hours of paid time off to vote, although they must get prior consent in order to be eligible and the employer may specify at which point during the shift the worker may leave to vote. However, if the polls are open for 3 hours outside of the worker’s shift, then the employee is no longer entitled to time off during working hours. 
 

Connecticut, Delaware and Florida do not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy. 
 

Georgia employers are obligated to give employees two hours of leave unless polls are open two hours before or after the worker’s shift ends, but the employer may specify the time at which the leave is taken on Election Day. Employers are not obligated to pay workers for time off. 
 

Idaho does not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

Hawaii allows up to two hours of paid time off for voting, although interestingly, deductions can be made if an employee does not vote. There is no requirement for employees to give prior notice for time off on Election Day. Employees can take up to two hours leave to vote unless polls are open for two hours during non-working hours; this is excluding any lunch or rest periods. 
 

Illinois gives paid time off with the proper written request prior to Election Day. Employees can take up to three consecutive hours to vote, but only if the polls are not open for three consecutive hours during non-working hours. The employer may determine exactly when employees can take leave. 
 

Indiana does not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

Iowa employees are allowed up to three hours to go and vote unless polls are open for three consecutive hours when the employee is not required to be at work. It is considered as paid time off, but requests for leave must be in writing and given prior to Election Day. 
 

Kansas gives paid time off with no prior request needed from the employee. Workers are allotted up to two hours paid time off to vote unless the polls are open for two or more hours before or after the worker’s shift.
 

Kentucky does not specify whether time off given to vote should be paid or not, however they offer their employees a good four hours to get to the polls during working hours. Prior request is required though, and the employer may specify when the employee can leave work to vote. 
 

Louisiana and Maine do not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

Maryland allows up to two hours for workers to vote and doesn’t require any prior notice to be given to the employer. The two hours are given if the employee does not have two hours during off-duty time to vote. Uniquely, Maryland employers require their employees to provide proof of voting from State Board.
 

Massachusetts employees are allowed to take leave during the first two hours after the polls open. Paid time off isn’t a requirement though, and prior request for time off needs to be given to the employer. 
 

Michigan does not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

Minnesota employers give paid time off for voting and workers do not need to give prior notice to employers. Employees are permitted to take off as much time as they need to get to their polling place, vote and return to work on the day of the election. 
 

Mississippi does not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

Missouri employers are obligated to give up to three hours for their employees to go and cast their vote unless the polls are open for three successive hours while the worker is off-duty. Workers must give notice of their intention to take time off prior to Election Day and they must pay their workers for the time they take off. 
 

Montana does not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

Nebraska employees are permitted up to two hours of paid leave, but only if the employee officially requested the time off either on or before Election Day. Employees may take leave during work hours unless the employee has two off-duty hours during polling hours. 
 

Nevada allows one hour of paid leave if the distance between the employee’s work and the polls is two miles or less. Two hours of paid leave is given if the distance is more than two miles but less than ten, and three hours of paid leave is given if the distance is more than ten miles. Employees are required to submit a request for time off prior to Election Day. Leave can be taken during work time if it is “impracticable” for employees to vote before or after their work shift. 
 

New Hampshire and New Jersey do not have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote, though you should check with senior management and HR to define your company’s policy.
 

New Mexico permits up to two hours of paid leave without any prior request requirements. The two hours of paid leave may be taken during work hours unless the polls are open two hours before work or three hours after work. The employer may specify the time of leave taken on Election Day.
 

New York gives workers up to two hours of paid leave to vote with prior notification to the employer, which must be given between 2 and 10 days before the election. Employees are permitted to take the adequate amount of time necessary to go and vote, unless the polls are open four hours before or after their working hours. 
 

North Carolina Doesn’t have any applicable state laws regarding time to vote.
 

North Dakota Employer’s are encouraged to provide time off to vote when an employee’s work schedule conflicts with polling hours, but giving employees time off to vote isn’t mandatory. 
 

Ohio does not provide paid time leave to vote. However, employees are permitted a “practical amount of time to vote” and they do not need to give their employer prior notice of their intent to take time off. 
 

Oklahoma gives up to two hours (or more depending on distance to polling station) of paid leave if advance notice is given, but proof of voting must be shown to employers to be eligible for pay. Employees can only take leave during work hours if the polls are not open for three or more hours before or after the employee’s shift. 
 

Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina don’t have specific laws on voting today, so check with your legal counsel or HR to determine your company’s policy for Election Day. 
 

South Dakota permits up to two hours of paid leave to vote unless polls are open for two or more hours outside of the employee’s working hours. Workers don’t need to give advance notice of their intentions to their employers. 
 

Tennessee allots up to three hours of paid time off for employees to vote. It is necessary to ask the employer for leave prior to 12:00pm the day before the election. Employees may take leave during work unless the polls are open for three or more hours before or after the employee’s shift.
 

Texas allows paid leave for employees to vote, however the number of hours they are allowed is not specified. There are no prior requirements in order to take leave. Employees may go during work hours unless the polls are open for two or more hours outside of the employee’s shift. 
 

Utah gives employees up to two hours paid leave to vote. It is required that employees request time off before Election Day. They are allowed to take leave during work time unless the polls are open for three or more hours outside of the employee’s shift.
 

Vermont and Virginia don’t have specific laws on time off for voting, so check with your legal counsel and HR to determine your company’s policy for Election Day.
 

Washington gives up to two hours of paid leave to vote without any requirements beforehand to request time off from employers. Leave is only permitted if the employee has inadequate amount of time to get an absentee ballot and the polls are not open for two or more hours outside of employee’s shift.
 

Washington D.C. doesn’t have specific laws on voting day, so check with your legal counsel and HR to determine your company’s policy for Election Day.
 

West Virginia allots up to three hours of paid leave. If the employee took time off to vote when the polls were open for three hours outside of the employee’s shift, their wages can be deducted as absent. Written request is required at least three days before the election.
 

Wisconsin does not provide paid time off to vote on Election Day and the employer requires a request for leave the day before. Up to three hours can be taken to leave work to vote. 
 

Wyoming permits up to one hour for voting time excluding meal breaks. There are no prior requirements to request paid leave to vote. Employees can take leave during work time unless polls are open three or more hours outside of employee’s shift.

For the latest continent workforce news and trends, visit http://www.emergent.com/news/

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