What Does Payroll/HR Have To Do With the 2016 Election?

While you might think to ask your HR/Payroll manager for time off in order to make it to the voting booth, state Wage and Hours laws are actually the ones who govern whether or not employers have to give employees time off to vote. 

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Debates, rallies, yard signs – they’re everywhere!  Regardless of which candidate you support, the fact is that we all need time to vote. Every election, especially the presidential variety, Payroll and HR folks are asked if employees can take time off to go to the polls and vote.  However, Wage and Hour laws are the ones that govern whether or not employers have to give employees time off to vote and it’s usually left up to individual states. 

Does your state allow time off for voting?

Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and Vermont are all states do not address the voting-time issue at all.

States that do speak to allowing employees time off to vote, however,  often have qualifications. For example, the employer only has to make special allowances if the employee’s schedule does not allow them sufficient time to visit the polls when they are open.  “Sufficient time” is usually between two and four hours, so if the employee’s work schedule does not allow two to four hours for them to visit the polls, you may want to consider allowing employees to make arrangements in advance so that they can have plenty of time to cast their ballot.

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