Election Day 2018 is fast approaching, and with everything going on in our political landscape, it will be a record turnout at the polls. These results could impact your business, so it’s a good idea to review your time off to vote policies now to minimize disruption on November 6th.
As an employer, you are not only obligated to ensure your employees can take time off to vote, but your state law may also mandate it. While there is no federal law that outlines time off to vote, over half of the US states have laws that do.
State laws vary from state to state, and some even outline the amount of notice an employee must provide to request time off to vote. Others may even require advance postings of their policy to employees.
While some states have no time-off requirements, Georgia law requires that employees get granted time off to vote if they cannot vote during non-working hours. Georgia employers must provide two hours of leave to vote in “any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote.” Employees in Georgia must provide reasonable notice to their employers, and they must not otherwise have two hours outside of work to attend the polls and vote to be eligible.
I’ve typically seen Georgia employers have a simple yet straightforward policy allowing time off to vote, up to two hours, if employees cannot get to the polls during non-working time. This time off request may be submitted and approved how you would typically process time off requests but shouldn’t get deducted from PTO or other time off policy balances.
Click here if you would like to receive a free Time Off to Vote policy that you can copy and paste into your employee handbook. Please keep in mind this is a Georgia-specific policy, so check your state law and edit as needed. If you are unsure of your state-specific law, I’m happy to help clarify that for you, or you can check with your employment attorney.