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State Law Allows Employees Paid Time Off for Voting

An amendment to the Election Law imposes new obligations on employers regarding paid time off on election days. The law now provides that an employee who is a registered voter “may without loss of pay for up to three hours, take off so much working time as will enable him or her to vote at any election.”  The employee must request the time off at least two days before the election, and the employer may decide whether the time will be taken at the beginning or end of the work day.  Employers must post a notice of employees’ rights under this provision at least 10 days before each primary and general election day.  Although the text of the law provides for an employee to obtain this paid time off when this is “required” in order to “enable him or her to vote,” the notice form provided by the Board of Elections implies that paid time off must be provided to all employees who are registered voters and request it, even if they already have ample time to vote before or after their work day.  Employers with questions about the new law should consult with their counsel.