During election time, it is often asked what responsibility an employer has in giving people time to vote.

First, there are no federal laws guaranteeing employees can take time off to vote. However, in some states, the law designates a specific amount of time which workers must be allowed off to vote. This time off may be paid or unpaid. Some states require your employer to give you time off only if you will not have enough time to vote before or after work, while the polls are open.  In addition, there are some states, like California, and other municipalities where employers are required to provide paid time off to vote. 

Compliance HR provides a convenient site with general voting requirements for employers by state.

In most instances, employees are required to give advance notice of their intention to vote in accordance with either the employer’s leave guidelines or government order.  Most employers in mandated areas give time off either at the beginning or end of an employee’s shift to get to their polling station.

Some counties in Washington state started using universal mail-in ballots in 2005 with the entire state switched over in 2011.  Because of this, employers in Washington do not need to provide time to vote.  Both neighboring Oregon and Idaho do not have requirements for employers to grant voting leave to employees.

If you are going to the polls, click here to see the CDC guidelines to use at polling stations.  Remember to exercise your right to vote.