Dear Valued Clients, Colleagues and Supporters: To commemorate Election Day, here is a friendly reminder regarding the rights of New York employees when it comes to the polls:
Most employees in New York State are eligible to receive up to two hours of paid time off to vote if they do not otherwise have "sufficient time to vote" before or after their regularly scheduled hours. If an employee does not have four consecutive hours between the polls opening and the start of their shift, or after their shift ends and before the polls close, the employee does not have "sufficient time to vote."
Under such circumstances, employees are entitled to receive up to two hours of paid time off to vote. The exact amount of paid time off an employee receives will depend on factors such as wait times and travel conditions, but the maximum an employer is required to pay is two hours. Please note this paid time off cannot be deducted from other leave to which an employee is entitled.
Employees are required to provide their employers with two "working" days' advance notice of their intention to seek paid time off to vote. This term is not clearly defined by statute, but it has been generally accepted as meaning two consecutive days during which the employer is open for business.
Employees whose employers refuse to recognize their right to paid time off to vote or who otherwise retaliate against the employees for attempting to exercise their rights should immediately consult with an attorney or contact both the New York State Department of Labor and their local County Board of Elections.
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