Time Off for Voting

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Benefits

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When state and federal elections are held, many employers are asked by their employees about time off from work to vote.  While federal law protects the right to vote, an employer’s obligation to provide time off for voting, whether paid or unpaid, varies from state to state.

Early morning or late evening voting hours or absentee voting is typically available and some employees may utilize those options. However, employers need to be prepared to respond to requests for time off to vote based on the laws of their state.

Here is a summary of the voting time off laws in states where many of our members operate: 

Wisconsin

An employee who wants to vote in a political election is entitled to be absent from work for a period of up to three hours while the polls are open, provided the employee requested the time off prior to the day of election. The employer may designate the specific time the employee may take off to vote. The employer is not obligated to pay the nonexempt employee for the time taken off to vote.

Minnesota

An employee is eligible to take time off for the period necessary to appear at the employee's polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work on the day of that election. No deduction or penalty may be made from the employee’s regular salary or wage for the time taken off to vote.

Illinois

An employee may take up to two hours of paid time off to vote while the polls are open, provided the employee does not have at least two consecutive nonworking hours during the time the polls are open. The employee must request the time off prior to the day of election. The employer may designate the specific time the employee may take off to vote. No deduction or penalty may be made from the employee’s regular salary or wage for the time taken off to vote.

Iowa

An employee who does not have three consecutive nonworking hours to vote while the polls are open is entitled to take time off to vote. The employee may take off the amount of time that, when added to the person’s nonworking time when the polls are open, equals three consecutive hours. The employee must request the time off in writing prior to the day of election. The employer may designate the specific time the employee may take off to vote. No deduction or penalty may be made from the employee’s regular salary or wage for the time taken off to vote.

Need help figuring out how voting laws apply to your employees?  MRA’s HR Advisors can help you!