One year ago, voting leave in New York was expanded to provide three hours of paid voting leave to all employees, regardless of whether they had time outside of work to go to the polls. But this expanded leave was short-lived. As of April 3, 2020, Section 3-110 of the New York State Election Law detailing the time allowed for employees to vote has been amended to closely resemble its previous iteration. The amendments were announced as part of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2020-2021 state budget.
The changes primarily concern the length of leave, (reduced from three hours to two hours) and when employees may use the leave.
Effective immediately, the following applies:
- Employees without sufficient time to vote outside of their scheduled working hours "may without loss of pay for up to two hours, take off so much working time as will, when added to [their] voting time outside [their] working hours, enable [them] to vote."
- An employee has "sufficient time" to vote if they have at least four consecutive hours during which they are not scheduled to work while the polls are open.
- Voting time off shall be at the beginning or end of the employee's shift, as designated by the employer, unless otherwise agreed upon by both parties.
- Employees must request voting time off between two and ten days prior to the election.
- Employers must post in the workplace a copy of the applicable portion of the election law at least ten days prior to every election, which must remain posted at least through the date of the election. (Although not addressed in the law, and to the extent still necessary as the next election approaches, presumably this requirement may be satisfied by electronic posting or distribution given the specific circumstances surrounding COVID-19.)