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Paid Time Off to Vote in New York

The presidential primary election occurs in New York in April 2020. Other elections will take place later on in the year. Many New Yorkers are excited to participate in the voting process and pick their candidates for various offices, as well as cast their votes on issues that are important to them.

However, voting typically occurs during the week, so those who work full time may wonder what rights they have when it comes to voting. Will they be able to take time off work? What rights do they have? What are their employers’ obligations?

New York has many labor laws defining various employee rights, including voting. Employees should take the time to understand what voting rights they have under New York State’s Election Law.

New York State’s Election Law

Under Election Law § 3–110, all employees in New York are allowed up to three hours to vote in any election. This time off will be paid. Employers are required to allow this time at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift, unless the employee and employer agree on a different time to vote.

However, an employee cannot simply come to work on the day of the election and request time off. This time off must be requested at least two working days in advance to allow the employer adequate time to provide coverage for shifts, as needed.

Employers also have an obligation to provide employees notice of their voting rights. A notice informing employees of this election law must be posted in a conspicuous place (such as a breakroom) at least 10 working days before the election takes place. The notice must stay in place at least until Election Day.

This law became effective April 12, 2019. This is a change to the previous law, which allowed for just two hours of paid time off to vote, and with restrictions.

This law applies to all elections, including primary and special elections. New York State Election Law also covers elections at the federal, state, county, and city levels. However, school district, fire district, and library district elections are not covered under Election Law.

The law does not make provisions for certain employment issues. For example, whether or not an employer is required to request proof of voter registration or how PTO works for each employer is not outlined. Employers may want to seek the assistance of a lawyer to ensure that they are in compliance with the law.

Contact a New York Labor Law Attorney

New York is progressive when it comes to employee rights. Make sure you understand the benefits you are entitled to receive under state law, especially when it comes to voting rights.

All employees have the right to vote under New York law. If your employer has denied you this right, contact the employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. We can ensure your employer understands the law and can help you obtain compensation for damages. Schedule a free consultation today by calling our office at (347) 464-8694.

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