How Much Paid Time off are Employees Entitled to in Order to Vote?

New York State Voting Leave rights § 3-110 of the New York State Election Law was amended effective April 3, 2020. 

Q:        Which employees are eligible to take working time to vote?

A:        Generally, New York State employees are eligible for up to two hours of PAID time off to vote if, and only if, they do not have “sufficient” time to vote outside of working hours.  An employee is deemed to have “sufficient” time to vote if an employee has four (4) consecutive hours to vote either from the opening of the polls to the beginning of their work start time, or four consecutive hours between the end of the employee’s work day and the closing of the polls.  For example, if an employee is scheduled from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and the polls are opened from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m., the employee is not eligible for paid time off, because the polls are open for 4 hours before the start of the employee’s shift.  In contrast, however, if an employee is scheduled to work from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., the employee does not have “sufficient” time to vote outside of working hours and would be entitled to up to two hours of paid time off in order to vote.

Q.        How much paid time off to vote are employees entitled to?

A:        The Election Law provides for up to two hours of paid time off to enable an employee time to vote when added to their voting time outside their working hours. While two hours is the maximum paid time off allowed under the law, the amount of paid time off required for an employee to vote must be determined on a case-by-case basis as waiting times at polling places, traffic conditions, and other factors may vary wildly.

Q:        Does an employee have to request time to vote in advance?

A:        Yes.  An employee must notify an employer at least two (2) working days prior to heir intention to take paid time off to vote, but not more than ten working days. 

Q:        Can an employer require an employee to use their “personal time off” to vote to comply with § 3-110 of the Election Law?

A:        No. Employees cannot be required to utilize any other form of earned leave time to vote.

If you, or your organization, have any questions concerning the New York State Voting Leave Law, please do not hesitate to call us at 516-888-1208 or email Cynthia Augello at caugello@augellolaw.com.

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