Jose A. Gonzalez
What if work limits your time to vote on Election Day?
It seems like you can’t turn on the TV or open the newspaper these days without seeing news about the upcoming election. The midterm election is just a month away, and experts are predicting high voter turnout. The polls will be open on November 6 from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
If you’re worried about having sufficient time to cast your ballot before or after work, it’s worth understanding the California laws that serve to make your participation in the election a bit easier.
Paid time off to vote
If you won’t have enough time outside of your regular working hours to vote, your employer is required to give you paid time off—up to two hours—to go to the polls. If you require more than two hours to vote, your employer must give you as much time off as you need, but any time exceeding two hours does not have to be paid.
Your employer can require that the time you take off fall at either the start or end of your regular work shift—whichever time slot requires the least time off and allows you the freest time to vote.
If in advance of election day, you anticipate needing to take time off from work in order to vote, the law dictates that you give your employer two working days’ notice of your absence from work.
Serving as a poll worker
Anyone who’s eligible to vote in the state of California can volunteer to serve as a poll worker. These volunteers work in each polling place, ensuring that voting laws are upheld and that all eligible constituents get the chance to vote.
If you are a state employee serving as a poll worker, your employer must give you paid time off of your regular job for you to serve on election day.
No employee in California should be denied their right to vote for fear of retaliation by their employer. Understanding the benefits the law affords you is helpful in exercising your voting rights.