Employers with Georgia employees should be aware of these two recent changes.
Voting Leave Law
Georgia’s voting leave law changed effective July 1. First, the Georgia statute was amended to add “advance in-person voting” (early voting) to the types of voting for which employers must allow unpaid time off. With this change, Georgia employers must provide employees with unpaid time off to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election, either on one of the days designated for advance in-person voting or on the day of the primary or election. Second, although the statute still has a two-hour limit, the amendments removed language saying that the time off was not available if the employee’s work hours began at least two hours after the polls opened, or ended at least two hours before the polls closed. As a result of that change, employers are now required to give employees time off to vote even if they can vote during non-working hours.
Although voting leave is unpaid, Georgia employers may elect to provide paid leave. Finally, the law still requires “reasonable notice” from the employee to the employer.
Sun never sets on Kin Care Law
The second change was to repeal the sunset provision in Georgia’s sick leave law. Georgia’s sick leave law (known as the Kin Care law) was enacted in 2017. In short, the law requires certain employers who offer paid sick leave to allow employees to use up to five days per calendar year to care for immediate family members (defined as an employee’s child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, or parent, or any dependents as shown in the employee’s most recent tax return). This law was scheduled to be repealed, or to “sunset,” effective July 1 unless extended by the General Assembly. Effective May 1, the law was amended to remove the sunset provision, so this law is here to stay.
Of course, Georgia employers must still comply with other applicable leave laws, such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.