Election Day is quick approaching, with November 3, 2020, being the final day to vote within the 2020 presidential election. As staff go to the polls, employers ought to overview the voting depart legal guidelines of their relevant state. In 2020, 30 states have some type of requirement that obligates employers to provide staff time without work to vote. These legal guidelines range significantly throughout the nation. For instance, some states, like California, require employers to pay for as much as two hours of time without work to each worker to vote. Different states, like Arkansas, merely require employers to supply an unspecified period of time off, which is unpaid.
This 12 months, employers are additionally wrestling with the implications of COVID-19. As now we have beforehand reported, many employers have carried out distant working for his or her staff, and there are a selection of employment legislation concerns relevant to a distant workforce. Voting legal guidelines are one other space with particular implications for teleworking staff. Employers ought to word that state voting legal guidelines typically don’t make exceptions for workers who work at home versus staff who work at their employer’s worksite. Accordingly, employers ought to proceed to comply with their time without work insurance policies for voting—assuming, in fact, such insurance policies are in line with state legislation—and supply time without work or, if required, paid time without work, no matter whether or not their worker is working from residence or working on the employer’s worksite.
Along with offering time without work to vote, employers ought to bear in mind these 5 tricks to keep away from working afoul of voting depart legal guidelines:
Test your state’s particular depart legal guidelines. As talked about above, state legal guidelines range significantly as to the quantity of depart an employer is required to supply and whether or not that point off have to be paid or not. For the reason that final presidential election, a number of states, together with New York, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, have up to date their voting depart legal guidelines. Quite a few states have additionally carried out emergency measures to accommodate COVID-19 considerations, akin to growing capability for mail-in voting. Employers ought to overview their particular state necessities. If employers have staff positioned in a number of states, they need to ensure that their depart insurance policies accommodate each state during which their staff work.
Don’t inform your staff who to vote for. Some jurisdictions have particular guidelines that prohibit employers from influencing their staff’ votes. Even when your state doesn’t prohibit employers from influencing worker votes, discretion is the higher a part of valor in terms of politics on the workplace. Employers typically are higher served if they don’t maintain captive conferences to debate political points, threaten staff over which political candidates or causes they help, or mandate attendance of staff at political rallies.
Don’t punish staff for not voting. Whereas the coveted “I voted” sticker is a badge of honor many staff proudly put on, employers shouldn’t chastise staff who select to not vote. First, solely U.S. residents are permitted to vote generally elections. Additional, some religions prohibit voting, as it might require the individual to guage a specific candidate. Criticizing an worker who doesn’t vote could inadvertently imply you might be criticizing an worker who’s a part of a protected class. The underside line is – allow staff time without work to vote, however don’t criticize those that select to not vote.
Acknowledge that this 12 months will likely be distinctive. With COVID-19, voting this 12 months will likely be markedly totally different than in years previous. States that let early voting have reported lengthy traces at polling locations and longer than common wait instances as a result of social distancing, disinfecting, and different measures to maintain voters and pollsters secure throughout whereas voting. Employers needs to be understanding if staff take barely longer to vote this 12 months given the mandatory precautions polling locations need to take.
Not permitting time without work for voting may result in public relations points along with authorized points. Over the previous few years, voting has turn into a hot-button concern for a lot of firms. Nonpartisan teams like ElectionDay.org and Time to Vote have raised consciousness of and engaged in advocacy concerning voting depart. In consequence, greater than 700 firms nationwide have made pledges to supply staff satisfactory time to vote. Some are going additional than state legal guidelines require, by making Election Day a paid vacation, offering staff with early voting data, mail-in ballots, and voting places, and giving staff paid or unpaid time without work to behave as polling volunteers. As these practices turn into increasingly frequent, employers ought to acknowledge that not offering staff with time without work may result in a telephone name along with your PR representatives (along with your lawyer).
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