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California Law Regarding Voting Time Off

Posted by attorney James Wu

I’ve been receiving questions from California employers and employees about employee time off to vote, so I’m happy to provide a summary of the California law (** California Elections Code 14000-14003**), and a link to the required employer notice.

What do employers need to provide (what are employees entitled to) regarding time off tovote?

In California, the polls on election days are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If an employee is scheduled to be at work during that time, and thus, does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, then the employee is allowed to take time off to vote. Unless the employer and employee agree, the time off for voting can only be used at the beginning or end of the employee’s regular work shift (whichever provides the most free time for voting and the least time off from work).

Is the time off to vote paid or unpaid?

California employees are entitled to take as much time off as needed to vote. Only up to two hours of that time off, however, must be paid. The employer can, but is not required to, pay for any time off to vote beyond two hours.

What notice to employees must an employer provide?

Every California employer must post an elections notice not less than 10 days before election day (this year, by Saturday, October 27). Here is a copy of the required “Time Off To Vote" notice from the California Secretary of State. It is also a common practice to include this information in an Employee Handbook.

What notice to employers must an employee provide?

If an employee believes time off to vote will be needed, the employee must notify the employer at least two working days before the election.

Note: These requirements are for California employers and employees. If you have employees (or are employed) in a different state, the law may be different.

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