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With primary elections coming up, as an employer it is your responsibility to provide registered voters with working time off if it is required by your state. While most state laws vary, most regulate the amount of time off an employer must give an employee to vote if they do not have an adequate amount of time outside of work. While states have different variations of time off to vote regulations, most require employers to provide at least two hours of paid time off after advance notice is given. 

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As an employer am I required to provide paid time off to my employees who are registered to vote?

Not necessarily! Depending on what state your business is located in the answer may be yes, no, or it depends. These employee rights are regulated by state government laws so rights would be dependent on each state and the regulations they have put forth, if they have any (some do not).

Below is a list of each state and a summary of the time off to vote laws. 

State

Paid

Summary

Alabama

No

Employees that are registered to vote can take time off to vote unless their work hours start at least two hours after the polls open or end at least one hour before the polls close. Employer can decide what hours employee can leave to vote.

Alaska

Yes

Employees can take paid time off to vote unless there are two hours between the opening of the polls and the beginning of their working hours or two hours between the closing of the polls and the end of their normal working hours.

Arizona

Yes

After applying to take leave in order to vote, employees with less than three hours between the opening of the polls and the beginning of their normal work hours or the end of their normal work hours and the closing of the polls may take paid leave from work at either the beginning or end of a shift for such an amount of time that provide three consecutive hours in which to vote.

Arkansas

No

Employer must create schedule so that each employee will have opportunity to vote.

California

Yes

Registered voters may take time off at the beginning or end of shift to allow for sufficient time to vote, with up to 2 hours of that time being with pay. Employers must post employee time off to vote notice regarding employee rights 10 days before statewide elections.

Colorado

Yes

After giving prior notice, employees can take up to 2 hours off to vote. Employers may specify the hours off, but the period must fall at the beginning or end of the work period if that is what the employee requests. No leave is available however, if there are 3+ hours between times of opening and closing of polls during which the voter has time off.

Connecticut

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

D.C.

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Delaware

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Florida

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Georgia

No

Registered voters who give prior notice may take 2 hours off to vote. However, if the hours of work start 2 hours after the opening of the polls or end at least 2 hours prior to the closing of the polls then time off it not available.

Hawaii

Yes

All registered voters are entitled to up to 2 hours off from work to vote, excluding lunch breaks and rest periods, unless employee has a period of 2 consecutive hours between opening and closing of polls where they are not scheduled to work. Time paid must be given upon proof of voting.

Idaho

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Illinois

No

Every employee that has less than 2 not working hours before the opening of the polls and less than 2 hours before the closing of the polls is entitled to 2 hours off work, as long as prior notice is given to the employer.

Indiana

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Iowa

Yes

Voters who do not have 3 consecutive hours between the periods between the opening and closing of the polls, may take as much time off work to vote as necessary to give them a total of 3 consecutive hours to vote.

Kansas

Yes

Registered voters can take up to 2 hours paid time off to vote. If the polls are open before or after the work shift, however, the vote may only take enough time off that when added to the amount of time before or after work does not exceed 2 hours.

Kentucky

No

Employees may take 4 hours to vote, but employers may specify which hours the employee can take off.

Louisiana

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Maine

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Maryland

Yes

Registered voters may take 2 hours off work if they do not have 2 hours of continuous off-duty during the time polls are open.

Massachusetts

No

Employees of a manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishment do not have to work first 2 hours after polls are open, if employee has applied for leave of absence during this period.

Michigan

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Minnesota

Yes

Employees may take the morning off work to vote.

Mississippi

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Missouri

Yes

Employees who give prior notice may take 3 hours off work to vote if there are not three consecutive hours when polls open during which the employee is not required to work.

Montana

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Nebraska

Yes

Employees who do not have 2 consecutive hours off work during polling hours can take up to 2 hours paid leave to vote. Employee must give prior notice in order to receive pay, but employer can set time for leave to vote.

Nevada

Yes

Employees who do not have adequate time to vote before or after work are entitled to 1-3 hours off paid, depending on distance between work and polling station. Employee must give prior notice in order to receive pay, but employer can set time for leave to vote.

New Hampshire

No

None, but if a person must be physically present at work or in transit to and from work from beginning to end of polling hours, she may apply to vote by absentee ballot.

New Jersey

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

New Mexico

Yes

Employees whose work day begins within 2 hours of the polls opening and ends less than 3 hours before polls close are entitled to up to 2 paid hours leave to vote. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

New York

Yes

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 days prior to election.

North Carolina

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

North Dakota

No

The law "encourages" employers to establish a program to allow an employee to be absent for the purpose of voting if the employee's work schedule conflicts with voting during the time polls are open. This is voluntary for employers. There is no guaranteed right to be absent.

Ohio

Yes

Employers cannot fire or threaten to fire an employee for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote. Paid only for salaried employees.

Oklahoma

Yes

Employees who begin their work day less than 3 hours after polls open and finish less than 3 hours before polls close are entitled to 2 hours leave to vote (or more if distance requires). The employee must give notice the day before Election Day and cannot have pay reduced if proof of voting is provided. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

Oregon

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Pennsylvania

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Puerto Rico

No

Election day is a legal holiday in Puerto Rico and most employees have the day off work. Employers running a business in operation on election day, however, must establish shifts allowing employees to go to the polls between 8am and 3pm.

Rhode Island

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

South Carolina

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

South Dakota

Yes

Employees who do not have 2 consecutive hours outside of work during polls hours are entitled to 2 paid hours to vote. Employer can set the time for leave to vote.

Tennessee

Yes

Employees who begin their work day less than 3 hours after polls open and finish less than 3 hours before polls close are entitled to up to 3 hours paid leave to vote. The employee must request leave by noon the day before Election Day. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

Texas

Yes

Employees must be given time to vote without any penalty if polls are not open for 2 consecutive hours outside the employee's work day.

Utah

Yes

Employees who do not have 3 consecutive hours when not required to be at work during the hours polls are open are entitled to up to 2 paid hours leave to vote. The employee must request leave before Election Day. The employer can set the time for leave, but employee requests for leave at the beginning or end of work hours shall be granted.

Vermont

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Virginia

No

No specific law requiring time off to vote.

Washington

Yes

Employees who do not have 2 free hours (excluding meals and breaks) during their work day in which polls are open, and who receive their work schedule with insufficient time to request an absentee ballot, are entitled to up to 2 paid hours leave to vote. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

West Virginia

Yes

Employees who do not have 3 hours of their own time during polling hours are entitled to up to 3 paid hours leave to vote. The employee must demand leave in writing at least three days before Election Day. In certain essential operations, employers receiving written request can schedule the hours when employees will be allowed to leave to vote.

Wisconsin

No

Employees are entitled to up to 3 hours leave to vote. The employee must request leave before Election Day. Pay can be deducted for time lost. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

Wyoming

Yes

Employees who do not have 3 consecutive non-working hours while the polls are open are entitled to 1 paid hour leave (excluding meal times) to vote. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

*If you have any questions or wish to receive more detailed information regarding state time off to vote laws, please contact your State government directly. 

 

Download a PDF version of the state-by-state time off to vote regulations by clicking here.

 

 

Whatever your state time off to vote regulations may be, as an employer it is always best to communicate clearly to your employees what their rights and labor laws are. If you have not done so already, it is required to post these rights.

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I
nformation provided above 

FindLaw. (2016). State-by-State Time off to Vote Laws. Retrieved from http://www.findlaw.com/voting-rights-law.html