October 8, 2012, Los Angeles – With the presidential election approaching, voters have an important decision to make. One decision that is out of employers’ hands is whether to allow employees to take time off from work to cast their vote. California law requires that employers allow employees to take up to two hours of paid leave to vote if the employee does not have enough time to vote outside of scheduled working hours (voting hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.).
The time off to vote should be either at the beginning or the end of the shift, whichever allows the most time to vote and the least amount of time away from work. Employees also are required to give at least two working days’ notice of the need for time off to vote. Finally, employers are required to post a notice of these rights at least 10 days before every statewide election. A sample of the required notice may be downloaded and printed, free of charge, from the California Secretary of State website at: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_tov.htm.
Failure to provide paid time off to vote may result in costly discrimination and retaliation lawsuits seeking damages and civil penalties.