The previous election law entitled an employee to take time off to vote only if he or she did not have four consecutive hours in which to vote between the opening of the polls and the beginning of the employee’s work shift or the end of the employee’s work shift and the close of the polls. If the employee was prevented from getting to the polls due to work schedule constraints, the law limited an employer’s pay obligation to two hours. The New York Election Law was recently revised and now provides employees in the State up to 3 hours of paid time off.
The first date this revision would impact is the June 25th primary election. Per the National Law Review, effective immediately, the New York Election Law § 3-110 reads as follows:
A registered voter may, without loss of pay for up to three hours, take off so much working time as will enable him or her to vote at any election …
Employees though, are not provided with 3 hours of paid time-off automatically when an election is occurring. Under the new law, all employees may request up to three hours of paid time off to vote, regardless of their work schedules, as long as the request is made at least two working days prior to the election. Since most elections occur on a Tuesday, the request would have to be in the week prior. Employers can specify that any requested time be taken at the beginning or the end of shift. And since most polls on Long Island open at 6 am and close at 9 pm, most employees of a school district should not be prevented from being able to vote, though there are bound to be exceptions. To ensure communication and compliance with the revisions, the school district should post a notice of the law around two weeks before the polls open. More clarification to come, so stay tuned.
Tom Weyer, CPA, MS
Tom is a member of Cerini & Associates’ audit staff where he works with the firm’s nonprofit and school district clients. Tom has experience in claims and internal auditing, as well as internal controls testing and analysis. Tom’s knowledge and expertise allows him to assist in the evaluation of internal processes and risk assessment.