Voting Leave for Election Day

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election-day-347x284.jpgAs mentioned in a recent FR alert, “Time Off to Vote?,” written by my colleague Sally J. Scott, Illinois requires employers to allow employees who are eligible to vote up to two hours of paid time off while polls are open (from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) on Election Day. For wage and hour purposes, employers should consider the following when determining whether an employee is entitled to this type of paid leave:

  • Employees must request leave before Election Day, and employers can specify when employees are permitted to be absent.
  • If an employee’s work day begins less than 2 hours after polls open and ends less than 2 hours before polls close, the employee must be allowed a 2-hour paid absence during working hours.
  • For example, an employee who works from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. would be entitled to up to two hours of paid time off to vote.
  • If an employee's work day begins at least 2 hours after polls open or ends at least 2 hours before polls close, the employee may be required to vote outside of working hours.
  • For example, an employee who begins work at 8:00 a.m. or ends work by 5:00 p.m. may be required to vote outside of work hours.

Employers should be sure to check the state laws in which they have employees in order to be prepared for Election Day on Tuesday, November 6. Also, employers should check any relevant collective bargaining agreements or past practice to determine whether such leave would be considered hours worked for overtime purposes.