Your Election Day Time-off Rights: A State-By-State Guide

Have to work on election day? Most states have laws in place to ensure employees get enough time off on the first Tuesday of November to vote in the US general election. Find whether your state is one of them through this election day time off state guide:

Election Time off Statutes by State (Alphabetical):

Alabama 

If you’re qualified and registered to vote, you can take time off from work to vote in any election. The time off taken cannot exceed one hour. However, if your work hours start two or more hours after the polls open or end one or more hours before the polls close, then you are not eligible to take time off. Your employer can determine what hours are available for you to vote, as the election polls are open from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Alaska

If you don’t have enough time to vote before or after work (Alaska defines this as  having less than two hours between the opening of the polls and the beginning of your regular work hours and less than two hours between the end of your regular work hours and the closing of the polls), then you can take as much paid time off as you need to vote.

Arizona

According to the Arizona Revised law 16-402, you can apply for time off to vote if you have less than three hours between when the polls open and your regular work start time and between your regular work hours ending and the polls closing. If you meet both qualifications, then you can take paid leave from work at either the beginning or end of your shift; your employer cannot deduct payment for these three consecutive hours you missed. If your employer refuses to give you this time off, then they are guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

Arkansas

Your employer has to make a schedule that ensures that every employee has the chance to vote on Election Day. If your employer fails to comply, then he or she will incur a small fine (no less than $25 but no more than $250).

California

In California, polls are open from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M on Election Day. Eligible voters can take time off at the beginning or end of their shift on that day. . If they don’t have enough time to vote outside their working hours, they can take time off for voting, but only up to two hours of that time off will be paid. An employer needs to post a notice of this voting provision in a conspicuous place in the office at least ten days before every statewide election.

Colorado

You can take up to two hours off work to vote, at the beginning or end of your workday, if you give prior notice to your employer. An employer is not allowed to make any deductions from an employee’s usual wage if they take time off for voting. If you start work three or more hours after the polls open or end work three or more hours before the polls close, then this paid leave doesn’t apply to you.

Connecticut

 In June 2021, governor Lamont signed an 837-page bill that includes a regulation that requires employers to provide 2 hours of unpaid time off to employees for voting on regular election days.  

District of Columbia

 In April 2020, the Leave to Vote amendment act was passed, which states that every employee in DC is entitled to two hours of paid leave to vote.

paid leave to vote

Delaware

An employer has to provide 2 hours of paid time off to employees who are qualified to vote if they are scheduled to work for 8 hours on the election day. An employee should let the employer know they require time off to vote no less than two working days before election day to take advantage of paid time off for voting. 

Florida

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

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Georgia

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can take two hours of time off to vote in an election. However, you can avail of paid leave if your work schedule does not permit two hours for voting either before or after your work hours. Administrative leave cannot be granted mid-way through an employee’s shift. If you start work two hours after the polls open or end work two hours before the polls close, then you aren’t eligible to take time off to vote.

Hawaii

If you’re eligible to vote, then you’re entitled to no more than two hours of time off for voting (excluding lunch breaks and rest periods). If you have a period of two consecutive hours between the opening and closing of the polls when you aren’t required to be at work, then you aren’t entitled to time off. To receive paid time off, you must provide your employer with proof of voting.

Idaho

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Illinois

If you give your employer prior notice, then you’re entitled to two hours off work unless you start work two or more hours after the polls open or end work two or more hours before the polls close. A 2005 amendment to Illinois’s statute affirms that all time off for voting must be paid.

Indiana

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Iowa

If you’re eligible to vote, you’re allowed as much time off as needed to give you three consecutive hours to vote. You must request this time off in writing, and this time off will be paid. The employee is not liable to any deductions from their salary on account of such absence. If you have a period of three or more consecutive hours off-duty between the opening and closing of the polls, then you can not take additional time off.

Kansas

If you’re eligible and registered to vote, then you can leave work for up to two paid hours to do so. But, if the polls are open before or after your work shift, then you’re only entitled to as much time off as required to give you a total of two full hours to vote.

Kentucky

Employees can take up to four hours off work to cast their vote on election day. However, employers have the right to decide which hours the employee can take off. 

Louisiana

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote. However, employers should treat time off requests for voting the same way they’d treat other time off requests. And, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may provide a couple of hours of time off for voting and are not permitted to deduct salary for that absence.

Maine

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Maryland

If you don’t already have two or more consecutive hours of off-duty time when polls are open, then you can take two hours of paid time off to vote. You also need to provide your employer with proof that you voted.

Massachusetts

Employees are allowed to take two hours of time off to vote after the polls open. However, payment for voting time off is at the discretion of the employer.

Michigan

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Minnesota

You can take off as much time as necessary to vote in any election in Minnesota, and your time off will be paid. If your employer doesn’t allow for this, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor and can be prosecuted by the county attorney.

Mississippi

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Missouri

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can take off three paid hours to vote. This only applies if you don’t already have three consecutive hours off duty while the polls are open.

Montana

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Nebraska

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can take up to two paid hours to vote, and you’re allowed to decide when these hours will be. If you already have two consecutive off-duty hours while the polls are open, then this does not apply to you.

Nevada

If it’s impractical for you to vote before or after work, then you’re entitled to one to three paid hours, depending on the distance between your work and your polling station. You have to give your employer prior notice, and your employer can determine when you can leave.

New Hampshire

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote. However, if time off for voting is granted by the employer, payment for that time off is at the discretion of the employer.

New Jersey

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

New Mexico

If your workday begins within two hours of the polls opening and ends less than three hours before the polls close, then you’re entitled to up to two hours of paid leave to vote in an election. However, your employer can set the time for your leave.

New York

If you don’t have four consecutive hours off-duty between the polls opening and closing, or if you don’t have “sufficient” non-working time to vote, then you can take up to two hours of paid time off to vote. However, you have to request the leave between two and ten days before election day, and your employer can determine whether the leave will be taken at the beginning or end of your shift.

North Carolina

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

North Dakota

The law encourages employers to set up a program allowing you to take time off to vote if your work schedule doesn’t allow for it. But, this remains voluntary for employers; there is no guaranteed right to be absent in North Dakota.

Ohio

Your employer can’t fire or threaten to fire you if you take a reasonable amount of time off to vote. If you’re a salaried employee, then this will be paid time off. If your employer violates this statute, then he or she can be fined $50 to $500.

Oklahoma

If you begin your work day less than three hours after the polls open, or finish your workday less than three hours before the polls close, then you’re entitled to two hours of paid time off to vote (or sometimes more, depending on the distance between your work and your polling place). You can decide when to take the two hours off. However, you have to notify your employer of voting time off at least three days before the election day. 

Oregon

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote, as Oregon has a vote-by-mail system.

vote by mail

Pennsylvania

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Puerto Rico

The  Electoral Code, which became law on June 20, 2020, states that employees whose work hours overlap with poll opening hours can ask to vote by mail or in a voting center in advance. Employees who cannot access their work schedule prior to the request deadline can take two hours of paid leave from work.  

Rhode Island

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

South Carolina

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

South Dakota

If you don’t have two consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you can take up to two hours of paid time off to vote. Your employer can decide when you can take this time off.

Tennessee

If you start work less than three hours after polls open and finish work less than three hours before polls close, then you can take up to three hours of paid time off to vote. You have to request this leave by noon the day before Election Day, and your employer can decide when you can take this time off.

Texas

If you don’t already have two consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you must be given sufficient paid time off to vote.

Utah

If you don’t have three consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you can take up to two hours of paid time off to vote. However, you need to request leave prior to Election Day. Your employer will specify when you can take leave unless you ask to take leave at the beginning or end of your shift.

Vermont

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote.

Virginia

There isn’t a specific law that requires your employer to give you time off to vote. However, if the employee’s working hours coincide with polling time, then the employer should allow the employee time off.

Washington

Provisions for time off to vote were repealed in 2013 after Washington adopted a vote-by-mail system.

West Virginia

If you don’t have three consecutive off-duty hours when the polls are open, then you can take up to three hours of paid time off to vote. However, you have to request this in writing at least three days before Election Day.

Wisconsin

If you give your employer prior notice, then you can take up to three hours off to vote. However, your employer can choose to deduct pay for time lost, and they can also set the time of your voting leave.

Wyoming

If you don’t already have three consecutive off-duty hours while the polls are open, then you can take one hour of paid time off to vote. Your employer can set the time of your leave.

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Sonika Malviya

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sonika Malviya

Sonika works as a Content Writer with Replicon. She is a bibliophile person and loves to write compelling content on a multitude of niches that can add value to the readers. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.

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