Election Day is Coming Soon - Do You Know Your Employees' Voting Leave Rights?

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | October 18, 2016

by Stacie Caraway

Realizing we ALL could use some "time off" FROM this year's presidential election, we want to provide you with a quick (party-neutral!) refresher on your employees' voting leave rights in light of the upcoming national Election Day on November 8. Voting leave requirements vary by state, but to give you a start, here is a summary of them for Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

Alabama – Employees are given necessary time off to vote, not to exceed one hour. The employee must give "reasonable notice" of the need to be off work to vote in order to receive time off for this purpose. However, if the polls open at least two hours before the employee starts work or close at least one hour after the employee ends work, the employer does not have to provide the employee with any time off to vote. The statute does not specify whether or not this time off is paid, so this is up to the employer. (Ala. Code Section 17-1-5) (Note that time off to vote would be paid for exempt employees under federal wage and hour law.)

Georgia – If polls are not open at least two consecutive hours either before or after the employee is to be at work, the employee is allowed up to two hours of leave to vote. The employee must give "reasonable notice" of his/her her need for leave for this purpose. The employer also may specify when the employee may leave work to vote. The statute does not specify whether or not this time off is paid, so this is up to the employer. (GA Code Ann. Section 21-2-404) (Note that time off to vote would be paid for exempt employees under federal wage and hour law.)

Tennessee – An employee is given a reasonable period of time off to vote, not to exceed three hours, unless the polls open at least three hours before the employee is supposed to be at work or close at least three hours after the employee gets off work. The employee must give notice of the need for time off to vote at least before 12:00 p.m. on the day prior to the election. The employer also may specify when the employee may leave work to vote. This time off is paid for all employees. (Tenn. Code Ann. Section 2-1-106)

If you would like information about the voting leave laws of another state, please contact Stacie Caraway or any other member of our Labor & Employment Law Practice Group.

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