In anticipation of the upcoming election taking place in November, employers must ensure their policies comply with New York’s voting leave law that was revised, again, effective April 3, 2020.
New York’s new voting leave law now requires employers to provide up to two hours of paid time off should the employee not have “sufficient time to vote”. An employee is deemed to have “sufficient time to vote” if the employee has four consecutive hours to vote either from the opening of the polls to the beginning of their work shift, or four consecutive hours between the end of a working shift and the closing of the polls. If the employee does not have sufficient time to vote then the employer shall provide the employee with time off for voting only at the beginning or end of the employee’s working shift, as the employer designates, unless another time is otherwise mutually agreed upon.
Employees must notify an employer, at least two working (business) days but not more than ten working days prior to the election of their intention to take paid time off to vote.
Additionally, employers are required to, not less than ten days before every election, conspicuously post, where it can be seen as employees come or go in their place of work, a notice setting forth the provisions of the new voting law. This notice can be found on the New York State Board of Election’s website (https://www.elections.ny.gov/) and must be kept posted until the close of the polls on election day.
Employers should note that the new voting law specifically applies to any election, which can undoubtedly be interpreted to include paid time off for employees to vote in all federal, state and local elections. Employers must be sure to update their handbooks to comply with New York’s new voting leave law.