The November 6th midterm elections, as has been a topic of conversation seeming during the entirety of the Trump Administration, are right around the corner! For California employers, that means two things, other than avoiding awkward political conversations at the water cooler:
- Employees must be given time-off to vote if they do not have time to do it before or after work, and;
- Employers must post a “Time Off To Vote” notice informing employees of their right to take time off to vote.
Under California Elections Code section 14000, Employees are eligible for paid time off for the purpose of voting only if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. However, employers may require employees to give at least two days’ advance notice that they will need additional time off for voting and may limit the time off for voting to be at the beginning or end of the regular working shift. Employees can be given as much time as they need in order to vote, but only a maximum of two hours is required to be paid. Further, employers are required to post a notice to employees advising them of above provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections. Employers must post the employee notice 10 days before a statewide election.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
The intent of the above law is to provide an opportunity to vote to workers who would not be able to do so because of their jobs. The polls in California are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and a sample notices in English, Spanish and many other languages for employers to post are located here. Given the prevalence of mail-in ballots and because ballots are open for a minimum of 13 hours, the need to provide time off may not apply to many employers. Nonetheless, employers should work with employees who do request time off to find an agreeable plan and, of course, post a “Time Off to Vote” notice by October 27, 2018, which is 10 days before the election.