Many employers are unaware of state voting leave laws, which we anticipate will be heavily relied upon this year given the challenges presented by the pandemic. Most states require that employers provide at least a few hours off to vote, and many of those require that at least some of that time off be paid. The advance notice that may be required from employees is often minimal, so employers should be prepared to grant last-minute requests to vote.

California and New York also require that a notice about employees’ voting rights be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace. Employees who are working from home or who do not report to the workplace regularly should be provided with these notices electronically.

Employers in states with early voting may want to encourage employees to take advantage of that option—by offering the same time off benefit—to reduce the number of absences on Election Day. The availability of early voting and absentee ballots, however, does not change an employee’s right to vote on Election Day if that is their preference.