With a new election season coming, employers should be aware of their obligations in terms of providing time off to vote. Employees can now legally request time off for advance voting, as well as on election day.
On July 1, Georgia Senate Bill 129 went into effect; the new law ensures that employees receive time off from work for early voting in primaries and elections. It also revises provisions related to taking time off to vote on election day. The law applies to voting in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election.
Do Employers Have to Provide Paid Time Off for Early Voting?
Employers may opt to pay employees for time off for early voting, but they are not required to do so.
How Much Time Off Can Employees Take for Early Voting?
In Georgia, employees can take two hours off on election day or two hours off on one of the days designated for in-person early voting. Employees must give reasonable notice to their employers of the need to take time off to vote, and the employer may specify the hours during the workday that the employee may be absent.
The new law doesn’t cover employees whose work hours start at least two hours after the polls open or end at least two hours before the polls close. It’s assumed that in those cases, the employees would have ample time to get to the polls without needing to request time off.