New York State Amends Paid Election Leave Law, Again, to Provide Up to 2 Hours’ Paid Voting Leave

You may recall that in 2019, New York State’s voting leave law was amended to require employers to offer employees “so much working time as will enable them to vote,” up to three hours’ paid voting leave, in primary and general elections as well as special elections called by the Governor, and to post a notice regarding employees’ rights in the workplace at least 10 working days before an election.  (It does not apply to early voting periods, however).

Effective April 3, 2020, New York amended its paid election leave law, again, to require an employer to provide an employee with up to two hours—not three hours—of paid voting leave if the employee does not have sufficient time to vote. The State has issued an FAQ, explaining the amendment.  An employee is deemed to have “sufficient time to vote” if he/she has four consecutive hours to vote either from the time the polls open to the beginning of their work shift, or four consecutive hours between the end of a working shift and the time the polls close.   An example is provided of an employee who is scheduled to work from 9 am to 6 pm.  In that instance, where the polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m., the employee is eligible for paid time off to vote, because the employee only has three consecutive hours off at the beginning of their shift and end of their shift.

Employees must provide their employers with at least two working days’ notice of an intent to take voting leave before an election, but not more than 10 working days.

The amendment explains that employers may not require employees to use their “personal” time off to vote.

Employers should update their voting leave policies and notices to comply with this change in the law.

As you may know, due to COVID-19, Governor Cuomo cancelled the June 23, 2020 Presidential primary in New York though other Congressional and local primaries in New York are scheduled to occur on that date.

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