Reminder to Comply With California Voting Rights Law
As election day approaches, employers are reminded that California law requires them to post a notice 10 days before the election informing employees of their voting rights under state law. Specifically, employees must be informed that if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, they may take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable them to vote. Up to two hours of this time must be paid. The employer can require that the time off for voting be taken at the beginning or end of the employee's shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift.
If the employee knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary to be able to vote on election day, the employee must give the employer at least two working days' notice that time off for voting is desired.
Importantly, the law does not include any provision allowing employers to require employees to use accrued paid time off for time taken off to vote.
The polls in California are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Accordingly, the vast majority of employees should not require time off to vote. Employers should, however, post the required notice and assess requests for time off, and grant them when justified. The notice, available here, must be posted conspicuously where employees work, or where it can be seen as employees come or go to the place of work.