Employee Benefits Compliance

California – Required “Time Off to Vote” Notices

California employers of all size (no small employer exemption) must post a notice advising employees of their legal right to take up to two hours of paid leave to vote in statewide elections.  The next statewide election will be held Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  (The Presidential election, just in case anyone is not already aware of the date.  Lol)

Most states (though not all) require that employees be given time off to vote if needed, and many states also have similar notice requirements.  One website that lists “time off to vote” laws by state is http://www.findlaw.com/voting-rights-law.html .

The Mandatory Notice

Employers must post the employee notice at least 10 days before a statewide election.  For a November 8th election, posting is required by October 29th.

A sample of this notice in English is available here.  This sample notice is available in English, Spanish and eight other languages from the California Secretary of State website.  See the list and links at the end of this article to download PDF versions of the notice, or you may call the Elections Division at (916) 657-2166 to order posters of the notices.

The employee notice must be posted either in the workplace or where it can be seen by employees as they enter or exit their place of work.

Requirement for Time Off Work to Vote 

Employees are eligible for up to two hours of paid time off to vote only if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote.  Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The intent of the law is to provide an opportunity to vote to workers who would not be able to do so because of their jobs.

Employees can be given as much time as they need in order to vote, but only a maximum of two hours is paid. Employers may require time off to be taken only at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift.

Employers may require employees to give advance notice that they will need additional time off for voting.  If, at least three working days prior to the election (i.e., by Thursday, November 3rd), an employee knows or has reason to believe that (s)he will need time off to vote, the employee must give at least two working days’ notice to the employer that (s)he wants time off to vote (i.e., by Friday, November 4th).

The “time off to vote” and notice requirements are at California Elections Code sections 14000-14003.

Links to Download the Sample California Notices

The notices to employees and employers regarding employee time off for voting is available as a PDF download by clicking on one of the following links: