As Election Day Approaches, Employers Should Be Aware of State Voting Leave Requirements

Although elections in Colorado and other states increasingly rely on mail-in ballots,FN1 employees may soon be requesting time off to vote on election day—November 6, 2018. Most states require employers to give employees time off to vote, and many states require employers pay for time spent voting during work hours. Below are voting leave requirements for employers operating in Colorado, California, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Colorado: Colorado employees who do not have three or more non-work hours during polling hours (typically 7:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m.) on election day must be given up to two hours of paid time off to vote.FN2 Under Colorado’s voting leave law, employees must request the time off before election day, and the employer may specify the hours the employee may take off to vote.FN3

California: California employers must provide employees up to two hours of paid leave to vote at the beginning or end of their shift, so long as the employee gives at least two days’ notice of such leave.FN4 Employers in California also must post a notice at least 10 days before statewide election explaining employees’ time off to vote.FN5

New Mexico: New Mexico employees are permitted two hours of paid leave to vote on election day, unless an employee’s workday begins more than two hours after polls open or ends more than three hours before polls close.FN6 Employers may specify the time the employee may take off.

Utah: Utah employees are permitted two hours of paid leave to vote on election day, at the beginning or end of their shift, unless the employee has at least three non-work hours when the polls are open.FN7 Employers may specify the time the employee may take off.

Wyoming: Wyoming employees are permitted one hour of leave to vote on election day, unless the employee has at least three consecutive non-work hours available when the polls are open.FN8 Under Wyoming law, employers must pay for the time off if the employee actually votes.

Employers with questions about voting requirements in these or other states are encouraged to contact an attorney with Campbell Litigation.

Footnotes

FN1:   According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states—Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—permit all elections to be conducted by entirely mail, and an additional nineteen states permit some elections to be conducted entirely by mail. See http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/all-mail-elections.aspx; see also https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/FAQs/mailBallotsFAQ.html; https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/FAQs/ElectionDay.html.

FN2:   C.R.S. § 1-7-102; see also https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/GeneralEmploymentLawFactSheet.pdf

FN3:   The hours must be at the beginning or end of the shift, if the employee so requests. C.R.S. § 1-7-102.

FN4:   Cal. Elec. Code § 14000.

FN5:   Cal. Elec. Code § 14001; see also https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/time-vote-notices/.

FN6:   N.M. Stat. Ann. § 1-12-42.

FN7:   Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-103.

FN8:   Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 22-2-111.

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