This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, registered New York voters can vote three ways:
- By absentee ballot,
- In-person early voting (there are nine days of early voting beginning October 24, 2020 and ending November 1, 2020), or
- In-person voting on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Poll sites are open 6 am to 9 pm on Election Day.
Despite these three options, New York employers may not require employees to vote using a particular method. This means that an employee can still choose to vote in person on Election Day, even if the employee does not have “sufficient time to vote” on Election Day and must taken paid time off to vote.
New York’s Election Law provides New York State employees with up to two hours of paid time off to vote on Election Day if they do not have “sufficient time to vote.” An employee is deemed to have “sufficient time to vote” if an employee has four consecutive hours to vote either from the opening of the polls to the beginning of their work shift, or four consecutive hours between the end of a working shift and the closing of the polls. Employees must notify their employer at least two working days prior to their intention to take paid time off to vote, but not more than ten working days.
Employers must provide their employees with notice of these voting leave rights at least ten working days before every election. The notice (available here) must be conspicuously posted in the place of work where it can be seen as employees come and go to their place of work, and it must remain posted until the polls close on Election Day. With so many employees continuing to work remotely or reduced/staggered schedules, New York employers should provide some form of electronic notice to employees as well.