Employee Time Off on Election Day

Ready or not (and aren’t we all ready?), Tuesday, November 8th is Election Day. As the date approaches, it is important to ensure that your company’s Voting Leave Policy is up-to-date and your employees are aware of their rights under the law.

Federal Law protects a citizen’s right to vote, but it is state law that dictates how much time off (if any) an employer is required to give an employee so that they can vote. Now’s the time to review your current Voting Leave Policy to make sure it’s up to snuff. To help with this endeavor, we’ve created a quick list of the laws surrounding this subject for some of the biggest states in the U.S.:

CPeople voting in polling placealifornia

Employees are entitled to take up to two hours without loss of pay to vote if they don’t have sufficient time outside of working hours. The time must be taken at the beginning or the end of a shift and must be requested ahead of time. Employers must post a notice of employees’ rights to take time for voting.


With prior notice to an employer, employees may take up to two paid hours off of work for the purpose of voting if they do not have at least 3 hours available to vote outside of their normal working hours. The employer may specify the hours the employee will take off, but the period must fall at the beginning or end of the work period if the employee so requests.


Employers are prohibited from discharging or threatening to discharge employees who vote in elections. Likewise, employers are prohibited from discharging or threatening to discharge employees who refuse to vote. Some local ordinances provide employees time off without pay to vote on an election day.


The State of Illinois grants employees 2 hours of time off to vote if an employee’s working hours on the day of the election begin less than 2 hours after the opening of the polls and end less than 2 hours before the closing of the polls. The employee must request leave prior to election day and the employer may specify the hours in which the employee can be absent.


Employers must permit voters time off to vote during the period of two hours after the polls open in their district. This law only applies to employees who work in mercantile, manufacturing, or mechanical establishments.

New York

Employees who do not have 4 consecutive non-working hours between polls opening and closing, and who do not have “sufficient” non-working time to vote, are entitled to up to 2 hours paid leave to vote. Employees must request the leave between 2 and 10 days before Election Day. The employer can specify whether it be taken at beginning or end of shift. Employers must post this rule conspicuously 10 business days prior to election.


Employers are prohibited from knowingly refusing to permit employees to be absent to vote on an election day or penalizing or threatening to penalize employees who go to the polls to vote on election day. The exception to this is when the polls are open for at least two hours outside of the employee’s scheduled working hours.


Employers must allow employees to be absent to vote in a political election for up to three consecutive hours while the polls are open if they request time off before the election day. Employers may decide the time for the absence and are not entitled to pay non-exempt employees for the time they are absent from work.