Voting Leave and the Upcoming Election
It has been an interesting election cycle thus far, and will only heat up as we approach the November Federal election. While I know that many AAA members will be in Las Vegas attending the American Ambulance Association’s Annual Conference & Trade Show, many of our fellow employees will be staying behind staffing the dispatch centers, ambulances, and administrative offices to ensure we can deliver service to those in need. It is important that employers understand the obligations that they may have to their employees with regard to voting.
While most employers operate during “normal business hours” providing their employees with plenty of time to exercise their “civic duty,” our employees may be scheduled to work the entire period that the polls are open. There is currently no Federal law that provides that employers must allow their employees leave from work to vote. However, many states have laws that provide leave to an employee leave to allow them to vote. In some states, voting leave must be paid. The requirements under the different state laws vary, including the number of hours the polls are open before or after the employee’s shift, timing of notice that the employee must give the employer of the need for leave, and if the employer must post a voting rights notice for employees. There is a comprehensive article that was published by the HR Legalist this past April that examines the specific state requirements for employers as it relates to the employee’s right to voting leave.
The key for employers, understand what your obligations are long before November 8, 2016. Employers should be sure to communicate to their employees and management what their obligations are under any applicable state law so that the employee and employer can plan accordingly.