Election Day Quickly Approaching, Employers Should Prepare for California’s Time Off to Vote

Posted: October 20, 2020 | News

As Election Day approaches, employers should ensure they are prepared to comply with California’s “Time off to Vote” law and notify employees of their right to take paid leave for the purpose of voting in a statewide election.

California Elections Code section 14000 requires all employers to provide their employees with no more than two hours of paid time off to vote if the employees do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. Although California now allows all registered voters to vote by mail through Election Day, employers should be prepared for time off requests from employees who prefer to vote in-person. 

The time off to vote is limited to being taken either at the beginning or end of the employee’s regular working shift, whichever provides the employee the most free time for voting and the least time off from work. If an employee knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary, the employee must give the employer at least two working days’ notice that time off for voting is necessary.

All employers are required to post a notice to employees advising them of their rights under California Elections Code section 14000 no less than 10 days before the election, which for the upcoming election is Saturday, October 24th. The notice must be posted at a conspicuous place where employees can see it as they come and go to their place of work. Employees who are currently working remotely should have the notice emailed to them directly. A sample of this notice, as well as a notice to employers regarding time off for voting has been created by the California Secretary of State and is available for download here.

Finally, California Elections Code section 12312 allows employees to be absent from work on Election Day without discipline if they serve as an election officer. The time taken off by an employee to serve as an election officer is unpaid by the employer.  
This blog is not meant to provide specific legal advice. For advice specific to your business, please contact any of the employment attorneys in our Employment Practices Group.