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November 11, 2008
Poll: Most Employees Must Vote on Their Own Time
Most organizations require employees who want to exercise their right to vote to do so on their own time, according to a recent poll on HR.BLR.com and Compensation.BLR.com.

When asked “Does your organization allow employees paid time off to vote?,” 35 percent of respondents replied “No, employees must vote on their own time.” An additional 24 percent responded “No, but we allow unpaid time off.” Just 18 percent responded “Yes, we voluntarily allow paid time off” while the remaining 23 percent of respondents indicated that their allowance of paid time off was required by law—“Yes, our state law requires it.”

There is no federal law that requires employers to give employees paid time off to vote, but some states do have laws that require paid time off. These state laws vary in terms of how much time employees are permitted to take off, among other ways.

Even when not required to do so by state law, many employers allow employees to take time off to vote when they cannot get to the polls because of their working hours. Some employers pay employees for this time. If you decide to give employees time off to vote, include the policy in your employee handbook and post it on your company bulletin board. Require employees to apply in writing to their supervisors for the time off and then file the request with note of its approval or disapproval in the employee's personnel file.

BLR has a “Time Off for Voting, By State” guidance document which identifies which states require employers to grant time off to vote provides information an overview of those that do, including whether the time off is paid or unpaid and how much time employees are allowed to take off for the purpose of voting. HR.BLR.com subscribers can access this document at http://hr.blr.com/timesavers.aspx?id=2268.

The HR.BLR.com/Compensation.BLR.com poll included 427 respondents.

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