There’s an important election coming up and understanding your employees’ rights for voting is more critical than ever. Every election is important, of course. In the wake of a pandemic and perpetual social unrest, however, this Nov. 3 feels even more pivotal, as evidenced by the wave of early voting that has swept the nation in recent weeks.
Voter turnout in recent years, however, has been exceptionally low. Only 4 out of 10 eligible people voting in the last presidential election. Experts believe that businesses have the power to turn the tide by simply easing burdens related to the primary obstacle that keeps people away from the polls: their jobs.
Ensuring your employees have ample time to vote is absolutely can be critical for your business and its success in so many ways. While Federal law does not mandate leave for the purpose of voting, many states have set forth their own requirements, with employers offering paid and unpaid time off. Regardless of where you live and work, best practices encourage employers to allow their teams at least two to three hours of paid time to vote if they would not have enough time outside of company hours.
- Review the rules: Know the details of your state’s voting leave requirements, or lack thereof, as well as any ordinances that may be in effect in your cities. Many states that offer leave also require that employees request this time in advance. For paid time off, some states also require concrete proof of voting. Have you posted clearly visible documentation informing voters of their rights? Failure to comply could result in steep penalties.
- Put things in writing. At the very least, outline your company’s policies in accordance with state laws. For states without mandatory leave, outline your company’s expectations. For employers overseeing teams in multiple locations and states, it may be wise to adopt one policy that encapsulates the most employee-centric terms of the state and local laws. Make certain to include verbiage addressing anti-retaliation policies, making it abundantly clear that no disciplinary action will be taken for employees who take time off to vote.
- Arrange for adequate coverage: When allowing employees time off for voting, it will still be necessary to have ample personnel to keep things operational at your workplace.
- Consider Making Election Day a holiday: So many companies have taken it upon themselves to make Election Day a corporate holiday, while providing employees with extensive information about early and absentee voting, helping them to make decisions that best fit their lives.
By adhering to your employees’ rights for voting, and giving them ample time to cast their ballots, you not only protect your company from litigation, but you give them added control over their lives and futures. This ultimately boosts morale and performance companywide.
Maslow Media Group specializes in compliance matters. Contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate the complexities of state, federal, and local regulations and standards while fulfilling your responsibilities.