Time Off to Vote – Most States Allow Employees to Take Leave

Date: November 02, 2022

Does your state require paid or unpaid time off for your employees to vote?

In the U.S., midterm elections are around the corner on Nov. 8, and as important as it is to fulfill your civic duty and vote, it is equally important that as an employer, you are aware and in full compliance with employee voting rights. 

While there is no federal law that requires employers to give time to their employees to vote, some state laws do require paid or unpaid time off. State laws can also differentiate between exempt and non-exempt employees, as exempt employees who take a partial day off to vote during normal business hours, should not receive a pay reduction. Doing so could jeopardize their exempt status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Brush up on your state’s laws regarding employer obligations for employee voting rights by visiting Nolo’s website. 

Out-of-State Employees 

One common question that arises is what to do when an employee is registered to vote in another state, which has different employer obligations, than the one in which the employee works. In most cases, the employer must follow employment laws that apply in the state where the work is performed. With that said, to the extent it is feasible for a business, it is a good practice to offer employees time off to vote. 

Early Voting and Absentee Voting Options 

For employers experiencing staffing shortages and who are hesitant to allow time off for employees to vote, in a state where they are not required to do so, educating your employers on voting processes like early voting and absentee ballots is an effective compromise. You can even go as far as assisting your more inexperienced voting employees on how to register. 

For more information, or additional questions, you can reach out to NFIB’s Legal Center directly at [email protected] or by calling 202-314-2070. 

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