Starting now employees are eligible for paid time off when they vote
New York State passed its annual budget which includes a newly amended law that could impact employers come Election Day. The updated law now includes three hours of paid time off to allow employees to vote.
What’s in the law?
The law, as amended, which is effective immediately, has four main provisions that employers should be familiar with.
1) A registered voter may take as much working time off as may be required for them to vote, up to three hours of which must be paid;
2) Unless otherwise agreed the employee will only be allowed to take time at the beginning or end of their shift as designated by their employer;
3) The employer may require employees to request the time off two working days in advance;
4) Ten working days before every election employers are required to post this notice for employees in a conspicuous area in the workplace.
How do I know whether or not an employee is registered to vote?
The short answer is that you don’t. While the law doesn’t prohibit an employer from inquiring about an employee’s voter registration status, HR One recommends that our clients refrain from doing so, as it risks the appearance of being retaliatory.
Do I need to pay the employee their regular rate?
Yes. The way the law is written, the employee may take up to three hours “without loss of pay.” If for some reason an employee requires additional time beyond three hours it will be unpaid.
Do I need to update my employee handbook?
While each organization may have different needs, employment regulations and internal company practices change over time, and your employee handbook should reflect that. A good rule of thumb is to review your employee handbook on an annual basis. HR One has revised the policy language used in our employee handbooks to reflect the changes in the law.
If you would like HR One to update your employee handbook, please contact us using the contact form below.
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