Is My Organization Required to Provide Leave for Voting Employees?

by Jessica N. Childress                                                          October 26, 2016

It’s almost Election Day! This day signifies a change in local, state, and national leadership, but it also means that it might be time to review and potentially change your organization’s voting leave policies if they are not compliant with state law.

Voting laws are different according to the state in which the employer operates. Below are a few points for DC, Maryland, and Virginia employers to consider when deciding how to grant leave for employees who need time off to vote.

Maryland: In Maryland, employers are required to provide Maryland voters with up to two hours of paid leave to vote, if the employee does not have two hours of continuous off-duty time during the time that the polls are open. Employees requesting paid time off to vote are required to provide their employers with proof that they voted or attempted to vote.

Virginia:  In Virginia, provided that the employee has given his or her employer reasonable notice, it is illegal to take an adverse personnel action against an employee who serves as an officer of an election because of his or her absence from work based on service in the election. Further, employers cannot require employees who serve as election officers to use sick leave or vacation time to cover his or her absence from work due to his or her service as an election officer.

Virginia law additionally prohibits employers from requiring an election officer to work on or after 5:00 p.m. or before 3:00 a.m. on the election officer’s day of election service, if the election officer served as an election officer for four or more hours (including travel time). Employers who violate this law can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Virginia does not require employers to provide employees with time off to vote or to pay employees who take time off to vote.

District of Columbia:
The District of Columbia currently has no laws requiring employers to grant paid or unpaid leave for employees to vote.

Employers should consider reviewing their leave policies to ensure that they are compliant with applicable local and state law.  


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This publication discusses legal developments, which are intended for informational and educational purposes only. The information contained in this publication is not intended as legal advice, and it should not be constructed as legal advice.