The end is near! With the approach of Election Day on Nov. 8, the seemingly interminable period of political campaigning will finally culminate in a day at the polls.
For many HR managers, a major focus at the end of this long process will be abiding by the applicable requirements for voting leave and satisfying any election-related obligations that go beyond giving employees time off to cast their ballots.
There’s no federal law requiring private employers to grant voting leave, but most states do have such requirements. State laws on voting leave typically guarantee a period of two or three hours to participate in elections at the federal and state level. The right to take paid leave generally applies to those employees whose work schedules overlap with polling hours.
With the trend toward longer polling hours in many states, employers can usually ensure that employees have enough time to vote without taking leave. A key step will be to look at work schedules in advance of Nov. 8 to see if employees will have at least two or three hours available for casting their ballots before the start or after the end of their shifts. Employees wouldn’t be entitled to paid leave if they already have ample off-duty hours to get to the polls while they’re open.
Recognizing the disruption that could occur in a business should a large number of employees wish to vote at the same time, most states allow employers to designate the hours for voting leave. In addition, the laws commonly require employees to submit a written request for voting leave prior to the day of the election. As an added requirement, several states stipulate that employees who take leave must provide their employers with proof that they actually voted.
Because the laws vary, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements in your state. Regarding the amount of leave, for example, some laws impose a rather vague obligation to allow "sufficient time" to vote, whereas others are more particular. In Massachusetts, employers can’t require an employee to work during the first two hours that the polls are open in the employee’s precinct (provided the employee submitted the proper voting leave request).
In Nevada, the leave entitlement increases with distance. Employees are allowed one hour of voting leave if the workplace is within two miles of their polling place, two hours if the workplace is between two and 10 miles from their polling place, and three hours if the distance exceeds 10 miles.
State laws don’t just cover time off for voting. For instance, Illinois, Kentucky and Nebraska require employers to grant employees leave if they’re serving as election officials. Other provisions focus on keeping employers from exerting pressure on employees or otherwise interfering with their freedom to support the political candidates of their choice. Here are a few examples:
As Election Day draws near, how can employers best prepare? My vote is that you consult reliable information covering the applicable state laws, and then let your employees exercise the right—and privilege—of participating in the democratic process.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)