Employee Time Off for Voting in California: What to Know as an Employer

By Morgan Carpenter
October 2020


Election Day is almost here! In the state of California, county elections officials will begin to send vote-by-mail ballots to all active, registered voters by October 5, 2020.

While voting by mail is a viable option for the general election, some people may still prefer to vote in person on November 3rd. Even though people are working from home, employers still have an obligation to follow California mandates regarding granting time off for voting.

Are you an employer-based in California with questions about the upcoming election? Read on to make sure you are prepared for November 3rd.

Election Notices

According to state law, employers are required to prominently display a post regarding paid leave for voting purposes in statewide elections. Notices are available in languages such as, but not limited to, English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, and Tagalog. You can also call the Elections Division at (916) 657 – 2166 to receive posters of the notice. You can also download the notice in English here.

Employers are required to post this notice ten days before a statewide election. The notice must be posted in the workplace or in a location where it can be seen as employees enter and exit the workplace. Since many employees are working from home, it is essential that employers take steps to guarantee their employees have access to this information. Set a reminder for yourself: by October 20th (just to be safe) – make sure the notice is posted in your workplace AND sent to employees via mail, email, or fax.

Employee Eligibility

If employees do not have sufficient time outside of work hours to visit their polling center, they are eligible for paid leave for the purpose of voting. Polls are open in California from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Pacific Time. While employees can have as much time as they need to go through the voting process, it is important to note that a maximum of two hours is paid.

Rights of Employer

If employees are eligible for paid time off for voting, as an employer, you have the right to require that time be taken off only at the beginning or end of the shift. However, it is encouraged to work with your employees and make arrangements if this is not feasible. Additionally, employers can require that employees give notice if they need additional time off to vote. While an employee must do this at least two working days prior to the general election, it is recommended that employers encourage employees to give as much notice as possible.

As November 3rd approaches and questions emerge, employers are encouraged to contact the Secretary of State’s Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE. Go forth and vote!

Interested in learning more about compliance? Curious about how to get the best workplace and benefits for your employees? Reach out to our President Ron Bland at ron@aeisadvisors.com and 650-348-6234 x12 for further information.

Disclaimer: Any information related to compliance or other subject matters in this blog is intended to be informational and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation. The content of this blog is based on the most up-to-date information that was available on the date it was published and could be subject to change. Should you require further assistance or legal advice, please consult a licensed attorney.

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