Election Day 2018 is fast approaching and with everything going on in our political landscape, it will be a record turnout at the polls. This could have an impact on 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 not only have an obligation to ensure your employees can take time off to vote but it may also be mandated by state law. While there is no federal law that outlines time off to vote, over half of the states in the US have laws that do.
State laws vary from state to state, 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 are 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 to be eligible they must not otherwise have two hours outside of work to attend the polls and vote.
I’ve typically seen Georgia employers have a simple, yet clear 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 however you would normally process time off requests but shouldn’t be 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. Keep in mind this is a Georgia specific policy so be sure to 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.
Lastly, don’t forget to communicate this to your employees, encourage and support them to get out there and vote!