Most of us will have the opportunity to vote when we please. But for some employees, taking time off may be necessary to exercise their right to vote. Fortunately, in California, we have laws protecting employees so that they can exercise their right to vote.
Do you get paid time off to vote?
Yes, you can get time off to vote if you are unable to vote outside your work hours. You can only take time off at the beginning or end of your regular work shift – whichever time is the least amount you can take off from work. Or you and your employer come up with a mutually agreeable amount of time you can take off from your work day to vote.
Only up to 2 hours of the time you take off to vote must be paid time. You can take more time off but the employer is only required to pay you up to 2 hours.
Do you need to give notice to your employer to take time off?
Yes. An employee must give at least 2 working days’ notice to an employer to be able to take time off to vote. So that there’s no confusion, make sure this notice is in writing.
Can you be fired for taking time off to vote?
You can but it would be illegal to fire you because you took time off from work to vote. The Constitutional right to vote is a public policy that the legislature recognizes. So if you are fired because you took time off to vote, this would be wrongful termination
What does an employer have to tell you as an employee of your rights?
At least 10 days before the election, an employer must post a notice informing employees of their rights to vote. The notice should be posted at work or where it can be seen by employees as they enter or exit their workplace.
If you want to take a look at this notice, our Secretary of State has one in English here: http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov//pdfs/tov-english.pdf
Are government or public agency employees protected?
Yes. All employers in California are required to provide time off for employees to be able to vote if they are unable to vote during non-work hours. There are no exceptions for government employers.
Election day is almost here. Besides the presidential election, there are plenty of other non-presidential issues and propositions that are at stake. So prepare and know your rights as an employee so you can exercise your right to vote.
You have up to 2 hours of paid time off, at the start or end of your regular work hours – whichever is the least amount of time you would need to take off from work – to vote. Remember to give notice to your employer at least 2 working days before the election if you need that time off.
Because of these protections, in California, at least, you don’t have to make a choice between going to work and going to vote. Just having that Constitutional right is not enough. Make sure you exercise your right to vote.