Time Off To Vote Laws

It can be tough for people to find time to vote during working hours. The difficulty to make time is one of the many reasons for low voter turnouts in some elections (only 59% of eligible voters went to the polls in 2016 election). Federal law doesn’t require employers to let employees take time off to vote, but 30 states have laws that allow employees time to do so.

It All Depends on the State

Time off to vote laws are carried out on a state-by-state basis. Some states require a certain period of time off to vote (generally 2-3 hours) while other states don’t allow any time off. States also can specify if the time off is paid or unpaid and typically all state laws require that employees give their employer notice.


Employers must abide by state laws, but they can make their own exceptions. For example, Patagonia closed all stores on election day in 2016 and gave their employees a paid holiday to incentivize them to get to the polls and cast their votes. Employers should make policies in line with their company culture and beliefs, and take into account that many employees want to exercise their right to vote.

Review Your Policies

Between mid-term elections, local, state, and federal elections, employers should take time to review their rules and determine what policies are best for their company. It’s a good time to update the employee handbook and ensure all employees know their rights.

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