Does Your State Offer Time Off To Vote?

Depending on what state you live in, you may be able to take some time off from work on Election Day to go vote. Though there is no federal law mandating employers to provide workers with time off to cast ballots, the majority of states do have voter leave laws, although all have a different set of requirements.

For voters who worried about being able to get to the ballots during a busy work day, it’s worth checking out the voter-leave policies for the state you work in. Legislation on allowing time off for employees to vote can vary greatly from state to state. Some states, including Connecticut, D.C., Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, North and South Carolina, and Pennsylvania among others, don’t guarantee any time off.

Others, like Alabama, Arkansas and Illinois, only allow for unpaid time off. But the requirements and exceptions for employees between the states differ in that case as well — for example, Alabama only allows one hour of unpaid time off and employees must provide “reasonable notice” while Illinois allows up to two hours off with notice.


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New York, California, Colorado, and Texas are among the states that allow employees to take paid time off to head to the polls. Again, each state has its own specific guidelines for how this works. In New York, employees are allowed up to two hours of paid time off, as long as they don’t have at least four available hours before or after work to vote and provide notice a minimum of two working days before Election Day. Employers are also allowed to specify what hours employees can take off.

Meanwhile, California also allows up two hours of paid time off for voting, but it can only be taken at either the beginning or end of the regular working shift. As In New York, this only applies to employees who don’t have “sufficient” time outside of working hours to vote.

It’s worth nothing that some employers are offering time off for their employees to vote, even if the state in which they are located doesn’t. Over 300 companies around the nation, ranging from small businesses to large corporations, have signed on ElectionDay.org to promote the importance of facilitating their employees’ ability to vote. You can check out the participant list here— and remember, if you need a ride to the polls, Lyft and Uber are both offering free or discounted rides to polling locations on Nov. 6.  

Cover image via  I’m friday / Shutterstock.

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