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Election Day: What Employers Should Know.

October 26, 2016


If you haven't done so already, it's essential for NY employers to prepare their teams and operations for Tuesday November 8, 2016 - also known as Election Day. 


It's no longer sufficient (nor has it ever been sufficient) for companies to require employees to use their own time to vote without regard if it's logistically possible due to an employees schedule.  In New York, polls are open between 6AM - 9PM for general election, and it's required by law for NY employers to allow each employe their right to vote. According to the 2012 US Census, only 56.5 percent of eligible voters voted, claiming lack of time as one of the major reasons.


In New York, employers have a responsibility to provide up to two (2) hours of paid leave to vote if:


  • An employee does not have sufficient time too vote. In other words, if he/she has less than four (4) consecutive hours between the opening of polls and the beginning of their work shift or between the end of the their work shift and the closing of the polls.  And...

  • An employee gives sufficient notice (No more than ten (10) days prior and no less than two (2) days prior to the election day. 


New York employers are also required to post a notification stating employee rights in a "conspicuous" location in the workplace or where it can ben seen by employees coming and going to work. This must stay posted until the polls close on election day. Note: this notice is required for all elections (i.e. primaries) so it's advised to include it in your year-round compliance posters. 


In Addition, although it's not mandatory, here are a few best practices regarding election time:


  • SCHEDULING - Stagger your schedules across the day so all hours of the work day are covered and business is still running productively.

  • AVOID PERSUADING - It's important not to influence or insinuate employees to vote for a particular candidate.

  • COMMUNICATION - Have line level management discuss employees' right to vote and proactively answer all scheduling and paid time off questions.

  •  ENCOURAGE VOTING- Harbor a company culture that encourages demonstrating the right to vote.  





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