A TIME TO VOTE: A guide to an employer’s obligations on Election Day
As we near the close of this monumental election season, it is important to be reminded of an employer’s obligations to its employees on Election Day. California law encourages citizens to participate in statewide elections.
On November 8, 2016, polls will openOn November 8, 2016, polls will open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If work hours coincide with poll availability, employees can access the time off to vote protections under the election code.
California Elections Code section 14000requires employers to give paid time offCalifornia Elections Code section 14000 requires employers to give paid time off for employees who do not have enough time outside of normal working hours. Section 14000(b) allows for up to two hours of paid time off to allow employees to vote. Absent an agreement with the employer, the employee must either take the time at either the beginning or end of the working shift -- "whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift." Cal. Elec. Code 14000(b).
This paid time-off is available to both public agencies and private sector employeesThis paid time-off is available to both public agencies and private sector employees. Cal. Elec. Code 14002. An employer must give the employees as much time as necessary to vote. The employer can require that advance notice be given at least two working days before the election for time-off to vote. If the time off is requested, an employer cannot deduct any pay for the time used to vote. Alternatively, an employer can set a time during the workday to allow the employees to vote.
California law also requires employers to post notices regarding the availability of time offCalifornia law also requires employers to post notices regarding the availability of time off to vote. The notices are available in multiple languages from the California Secretary of State's webpage. The notices must be posted at least 10 days before the election and must be placed in a conspicuous place to properly notify employees.