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New York State Time Off to Vote Law

As a reminder with the election coming up on November 3, 2020, all employers in New York State must post the recently revised New York Time Off to Vote Notice by no later than October 23, 2020 (10 working days before the election).  A copy is attached here.  The notice must remain posted until the close of the polls on election day. The law applies to primary and general elections.  The law specifically requires that the notice be conspicuously posted in the place of work where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work.

If some or all of your workforce is telecommuting, consider posting the notice on your Company’s intranet or delivering it by email to employees who are working from home.  Telecommuting employees may still request paid time off to vote if they do not have sufficient time to vote outside of their scheduled working hours as explained more fully below.

In April of 2020, with the passing of New York State’s fiscal budget, New York’s voting leave law reverted back to the pre-2019 version of the statute. In 2019, New York increased paid voting leave for employees from two to three hours (regardless of an employee’s work schedule). New York’s current voting leave law, applicable to the upcoming election, provides as follows:

  • Permits registered voters without sufficient time to vote outside of their scheduled working hours to take up to two hours of paid time off to vote.
  • If an employee has four consecutive hours either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of his or her working shift, or between the end of his or her working shift and the closing of the polls, the employee is deemed to have sufficient time outside his or her working hours within which to vote.
  • If the employee has less than four consecutive hours, then he or she may take off so much working time as will, when added to his or her voting time outside his or her working hours enable him or her to vote, but not more than two hours of which shall be without loss of pay,
  • An employee is allowed time off for voting only at the beginning or end of his or her working shift, as the employer may designate, unless otherwise mutually agreed.
  • If an employee requires working time off to vote, the employee must notify his or her employer not more than ten nor less than two working days before the day of the election that he or she requires time off to vote.
  • Employers must conspicuously post a notice of the voting leave law no less than 10 working days before the election. The notice must remain posted until the polls close on election day.

Voting leave is only available for employees who are actively employed.  Employees on layoff or furlough are not entitled to paid voting leave. The New York State Board of Elections has posted Time Off To Vote FAQs regarding the revised law.  A copy of the FAQs is also attached.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact David R. Rothfeld, Lois M. Traub, Alexander Soric, Jennifer Schmalz, Robert L. Sacks, Jaclyn Ruocco, Joseph Tangredi, or Brian D. Polivy.

This memo is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice and readers should consult counsel to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances.

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