“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.”  ~Sharon Salzberg (American author)

Election day is November 6, 2018.  While there’s no need here to emphasize the importance of voting for your political representatives, employers should be aware that election season presents additional requirements for employers of all sizes.

At least 10 working days before the election, all New York employers are required to conspicuously post a notice in the workplace informing employees of their right to take time away from work to vote.  Employers must keep this notice posted until polls close on Election Day. The notice must include all of the information contained in New York Election Law § 3-110. A basic, compliant notice is published by the State, and you can find it here.  

Not all employees are entitled to time off, however.  An employer must permit an employee to leave work to vote only if she:

  • is a registered voter;
  • has less than four hours off in a row between when polls open and the start of her shift;
  • has less than four free hours in a row between the end of her shift and when polls close; and
  • notifies the employer of her need for time off to vote at least two working days before the election.

How much time can an employee take off to vote?  She has sufficient time to vote if she has four consecutive hours off of work either between the opening of polls and the start of her shift or the end of her shift and when the polls close.  As a result, she may take as much time as she needs for her to have four consecutive hours off work while the polls are open.

Must the employee be paid for this time off?  Yes, but only to a point. Eligible employees must be paid a maximum of two hours for time taken off work to vote.  If she requires more than two hours of leave to have four consecutive hours off work while the polls are open, the rest of the time is unpaid. 

Can an employer require the employee to take the leave at a particular time?  Yes. The employer may require the time off be taken either at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift. An employee isn’t necessarily entitled to time off during her shift, unless the employer agrees. 

For these and other employment-related concerns, feel free to reach out to The Coppola Firm for guidance.