In the nick of time for Election Day, below is a FAQ relating to the right of California employees to take time off for voting.
Q: Which employers are covered by this law?
A: All California employers.
Q: When is the leave available?
A: Employees are eligible for paid time off for the purpose of voting in any statewide election only if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. The intent of the law is to provide an opportunity to vote to workers who would not be able to do so because of their jobs. The polls are open from 7am to 8pm. Most employees work shifts that would permit them to vote either before or after work, without taking any time off.
Q: How much time off must be given?
A: An employee is entitled to take off enough working time on the day of the election so that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, the employee will be able to vote.
Q: Is the leave paid?
A: Yes, but only a maximum of two hours is paid.
Q: Must the employee give advance notice?
A: Yes, usually. If an employee on the third working day prior to election day knows that he or she will need time off to vote on election day, the employee must give the employer at least two working days’ notice of the need for time off.
Q: Can employees take time off to vote in the middle of a shift?
A: No. Employers may require time off to be taken only at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift
Q: Must the employer post notice of the voting leave rights?
A: Yes. At least 10 days before any statewide election, every employer must conspicuously post a notice at the workplace (or, if impracticable, elsewhere where employees can see it as they come or go to the work site), setting forth the provisions of Election Code § 14000. Most employers simply leave the notice posted all year round. Some “all-in-one” posters include the proper notice among the multitude of other required postings.
Q: Where can I get the required posting?
A: The Secretary of State offers the official posting. Click here for the poster.
Christopher W. Olmsted, Esq.
Barker Olmsted & Barnier, APLC