By James Y. Wu

Election day is Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Employers must comply with applicable laws regarding providing employees time off to vote or to serve as an election official. Here is a summary of those requirements in California:

TIME OFF FOR VOTING: (California Elections Code 14000-14003)

Q:  What do employers need to provide (what are employees entitled to) regarding time off to vote?

A:  In California, the polls on election days are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If an employee does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote, then the employee is allowed to take time off to vote. Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, the time off for voting can only be used at the beginning or end of the employee’s regular work shift (whichever provides the most free time for voting and the least time off from work).

Q:  Is the time off to vote paid or unpaid?

A:  California employees are entitled to take as much time off as needed to vote. Only up to two hours of that time off, however, must be paid. The employer can, but is not required to, pay for any time off to vote beyond two hours.

Q:  What notice must employers provide to employees?

A:  Every California employer must post an elections notice not less than 10 days before election day (this year, by Saturday, October 29). The California Secretary of State has “Time Off To Vote” notices available in several different languages. It is also a common practice to include this information in an Employee Handbook.

Q:  What notice must employees provide to employers?

A:  If an employee believes time off to vote will be needed, the employee must notify the employer at least two working days before the election.

TIME OFF TO SERVE AS AN ELECTION OFFICIAL: (California Elections Code 12312)

California employers must allow employees time off if they serve as an Election Official. This time off can be unpaid, and there is no limitation on the length of time off to serve.

Note: These requirements are for California employers and employees. If you have employees (or are employed) in a different state, the law may be different.

Information provided in this article is not legal advice, nor should you act on anything stated in this article without conferring with the Author or other legal counsel regarding your specific situation. No attorney-client relationship is created via this article.

Byline: For two decades, James Y. Wu has provided employment law advice and counsel, and litigation defense, to employers of all sizes.  Learn more at www.wucastillo.com and http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesywu/.  Contact James at jwu@wucastillo.com