With election day fast approaching, New York State employers should ensure that they are ready to comply with § 3‑110 of the New York State Election Law (“Law”). For many years prior to 2019, § 3‑110 provided that employees who were registered to vote were entitled to up to two hours of paid time off to vote if they did not have at least four consecutive hours to vote either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of their shift, or between the end of their shift and the closing of the polls. However, in 2019, § 3‑110 was amended to essentially entitle employees to three hours of paid time off to vote, regardless of how much time they had to vote before their workday began or after it ended.
After much lobbying, earlier this year, New York State reversed the 2019 amendment and returned to the pre-2019 version of the Law. As a result, employees who are registered to vote are now again entitled to only two hours of paid time off to vote, and only if they do not have at least four consecutive hours to vote either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of their shift, or between the end of their shift and the closing of the polls. If employees require more than two hours off to vote because they do not have at least four hours before or after work to do so, they are entitled to such additional time, but it may be unpaid. Employers may also limit time off to vote to the beginning or end of the employees’ shift. Employees who need time off to vote must notify their employer not more than 10, nor less than two, working days before the day of the election for which time off is required.
Employers should also remember that the Law requires them to conspicuously post a notice informing employees of their rights under the Law at least 10 working days before every election. The notice must remain posted until the polls close on election day. The New York State Board of Elections has issued a poster for this purpose.
Employers should update their voting policies to comply with the current Law and post the required notice at least 10 working days before all elections.