HR Hotline: Are Employees Entitled to Time Off for Voting?
Q: Are Connecticut employers required to provide time off for employees so they can vote?
A: Yes. As of June 23, 2021 and through June 30, 2024, Connecticut employers must grant each employee two hours of unpaid time off from their regularly scheduled work on the day of an election, for the purpose of voting.
State law specifies that the time off requirement applies to all employees—whether already registered to vote or not—when voting in a regular state election, as Connecticut conducts Election Day registration for such elections.
Employees who are not already registered to vote are not entitled to time off on the day of special elections for U.S. Congress, state senator, state representative, or judge of probate, as those unregistered employees will not be eligible to vote in special elections.
To be eligible for the unpaid time off, an employee must request it at least two working days prior to the election. Election Day this year is Nov. 8, 2022.
Although Connecticut law does not require that employers post information regarding this right to time off, as a matter of good policy, employers are encouraged to (1) notify their employees of this opportunity to take time off from work to vote; and (2) remind employees that they must give at least two working days’ notice of their intent to do so.
In some states, local laws require employers to consider available voting hours compared to an employee’s work schedule, so that workers have enough time to get to polling stations.
Connecticut law has no such requirement, and it’s up to the employer to determine which hours of the workday will be given off.
However, as with the notice to employees, it’s simply a matter of good policy to attempt to work with your employees, and grant whichever two hours will make it possible for them to vote while polls are open. In Connecticut, that’s between 6 am and 8 pm.
Employers with offices in multiple states should be mindful that other states may have different or more expansive time-off rules, and such employers must comply with each of them.
For example, some states provide for paid time off, while others require employers to post notices of these rights.
Connecticut law does not distinguish between employees who work on-sight versus those who work remotely.
Thus, even remote workers who may have more opportunities to get to the polls, are entitled to two hours of unpaid time off on election day, if those two hours are used to vote.
Employers who fail to provide time off in accordance with Connecticut law may be fined $300 for each employee denied this right.
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