The election is almost here. As an employer, under the California Elections Code, you have to give employees paid time off to vote if they can’t do so within regular working hours.

Post the rules

time off to vote

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In fact, employers are required to post a notice in a conspicuous spot advising employees of their voting rights. The notice is to be posted 10 days before a statewide election. Download the PDF here.

Give advance notice to employer

For their part, employees are required to give employers two days’ notice if they want time off to vote. Employers should assess those requests and grant them when justified.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., so the vast majority of workers shouldn’t need time off to vote. However, employers face a penalty if they don’t post the notice as required. It’s a misdemeanor not to post the notice or to fail to provide time off for employees to vote. If convicted, an employer can be fined up to $1000, imprisoned for up to three years, or both.

Pay employees for two hours off

Employees can take as much time as they need to vote, but employers only have to pay for two hours of voting time. Employers can choose to pay more than that if the employee needs more time to vote.

The law requires employees to take voting time either at the beginning or end of the work shift. However, the employer and employee can agree on another arrangement.

In addition, employers cannot discipline employees for serving as election officials on Election Day. However, employers do not have to pay employees for the time they are absent from work.