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By Daniel M. Bernstein

The U.S. presidential election will be held Tuesday, November 8, 2016. How your business responds to employees taking time off for voting is regulated by state voting rights laws.

In New York, employers are required to provide leave to allow employees ample time to vote in elections if the employee does not have four consecutive nonwork hours at the beginning or end of their shift when the polls are open. The length of the leave must be sufficient, when added to the employee’s voting time during nonwork hours, to enable the employee to vote.  The first two hours of the leave must be without loss of pay. Employees must request this leave not more than 10 nor less than two working days in advance of the election.

New York employers must post time-off election notices stating the provisions of N.Y. Election Law §  3-110 at least 10 working days prior to the election.  The notices must remain posted until the close of polls on election day.

Employers may also want to consider reviewing their employee handbooks to ensure their voting leave policies comply with applicable laws.  While the Presidential elections are infrequent, employers must remember that New York’s voting leave laws apply to all public elections – not only those occurring every four years – and require ongoing attention to compliance.