Voting: Do I Have to Let Employees Off Early to Vote?

Several of our workers have been talking about voting in the California presidential primary election on February 5. I’m wondering how this will affect the workday—do I have to let them off early to vote?

The HR Management & Compliance Report: How To Comply with California Wage & Hour Law, explains everything you need to know to stay in compliance with the state’s complex and ever-changing rules, laws, and regulations in this area. Coverage on bonuses, meal and rest breaks, overtime, alternative workweeks, final paychecks, and more.

Under certain circumstances, yes, and you may also have to let your employees come in late. Under California law, employees who don’t have sufficient time to vote in a statewide election outside of working hours are entitled to enough paid time off from work so that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, they are able to vote. Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, time off must be scheduled at the beginning or end of the regular work shiftwhichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from work. No more than two hours can be taken without a loss of pay. An employee who knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary to be able to vote must give the employer at least two working days notice of the need for voting leave.

Don’t forget to post information about employee voting rights at least 10 days before the election. If you require your employees to provide verification that they voted, make sure you notify them in advance.

—CELA Editors