Do I have to give my employees time off to vote?

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On Election Day employers may be wondering whether or not they need to give their employees time off to vote. While there are no federal laws in place governing time off to vote, many states have time off to vote regulations in place, and these can vary widely.
In New York state an employee who is a registered voter and does not have four consecutive nonworking hours to vote when the polls are open must be given up to two hours off with pay during the workday to vote.  Any additional time off needed to vote is without pay for non-exempt employees unless credited, unused vacation, PTO, or personal leave is used. 
Employers may require employees to submit a request for time off to vote and have the ability to specify whether the time off can be taken at the beginning or end of the shift. Penalties for failure to comply with these regulations may result in a fine of up to $500 and/or up to a year in jail.
In New York polls are open from 6:00 A.M. through 9:00 P.M.
For information on time off to vote requirements in other states contact HR One.