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Client Advisory: Attention Employers – New York Mandates Three Hours of Paid Leave to Employees to Vote

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Effective immediately, New York Election Law §3-110 has been amended requiring New York State employers to provide employees with up to three hours of paid time off to vote in any election. The amendment, in part, 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.”

Employee Responsibilities

  • Employees must be registered to vote.
  • Employees may request up to three hours of paid time off to vote, regardless of their work schedules.
  • Employees must request the paid time off at least two working days before the election.

Employer Responsibilities

  • Employers may designate that any requested time off to vote be taken at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift, to not disrupt the workday.
  • Employers must provide the paid time off at the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay, or the hourly rate they would have earned had they not taken leave.
    • Employers who take tip credit must pay the employee at the regular minimum wage.
    • Employers are prohibited from taking any deductions to an exempt employee’s pay for partial day absences, including voting leave.
    • Employers must post a notice at least ten days in advance of an election to inform employees of the provisions of New York Election Law §3-110. The notice must remain posted until the close of the polls on election day.

May an Employer Request Proof of Voter Registration?

The amendment to New York Election Law §3-110 states “registered voter” but is unclear and does not provide explicit instruction on whether an employer can request proof of voter registration.

What is the Definition of “Without Loss of Pay”?

The amendment to New York Election Law §3-110 reads that an employee may take off up to three hours “without loss of pay” to vote. The amendment, however, is otherwise silent on whether the paid time off can be deducted from an employee’s existing paid time off balance, or if the employer must pay an employee in addition to what is already provided in the employer’s paid time off policies.

What Elections Apply?

An employee can obtain time off to vote in elections “governed by the Election Law.” New York Election Law §1-102 states:

“This chapter shall govern the conduct of all elections at which voters of the state of New York may cast a ballot for the purpose of electing an individual to any party position or nominating or electing an individual to any federal, state, county, city, town or village office, or deciding any ballot question submitted to all the voters of the state or the voters of any county or city, or deciding any ballot question submitted to the voters of any town or village at the time of a general election.”

Employers - Be Prepared

  • Review your employee handbook and time off policies that address voting leave to ensure updated compliance with New York Election Law §3-110.
  • Ensure compliance with the timely compliance of the posting requirements before election days.
  • Prepare for an increase in absences on election days.
  • Consult with your labor and employment attorney, if necessary.

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This Client Advisory is provided as a courtesy to the clients of Carter Conboy. It provides general information and is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between Carter Conboy and the reader. Should the reader desire additional information about the content of this Advisory and/or its application, please contact attorney Michael J. Murphy at mmurphy@carterconboy.com and (518) 465-3484.

Client Advisory - Attention Employers - NY Mandates Three Hours of Paid Leave to Employees to Vote