New York state has amended its employee voting leave law to reduce the amount of paid voting leave employers are required to provide from three hours to two.
“Sufficient Time” to Vote
The amendments state that up to two hours of paid employee voting leave is mandated only when employees who are registered voters do not have “sufficient time” to vote outside their scheduled working hours, meaning they do not have four consecutive hours to vote either from the opening of the polls to the beginning of their work shift or between the end of the shift and the closing of the polls.
Employees with fewer than the four consecutive nonwork voting hours are allowed to take off as much time from work as necessary (when added to their voting time outside working hours) to vote, but not more than two hours of the leave is required to be paid.
Before the amendments went into effect on April 3, 2020, the law provided employees up to three hours of paid time off to vote, regardless of how much time they had to vote before or after work.
Leave Amount Determined Individually
According to answers issued by the New York State Board of Elections to frequently asked questions, while two hours is the maximum paid time off allowed under the law, the amount of paid time off required to vote must be determined on a case-by-case basis, as waiting times at polling places, traffic conditions, and other factors may vary.
Employees cannot be required to utilize any other form of earned leave time to vote. Employers should review their employee leave policies to ensure they comply with the new amendments.
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