My inbox is overflowing with requests for money. There are constant mean-spirited commercials on every channel. People I rarely hear from are emailing me daily acting as though we’re best of friends. I am receiving text messages throughout the day from strangers inviting me to “get involved.” Kanye West is meeting with the president. No, it’s not the apocalypse, it’s just election time. I think Yoko Ono sums up this time of year the best.
All petty annoyances (and Yoko Ono) aside, we live in a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. A hallmark of our government is the principle of self-governance. The main way for us to exercise our right of self-governance is to vote for the individuals and propositions that best represent our values. Well, that chance is coming up quickly as election day is right around the corner. And now is a great time to ensure your business complies with the applicable voting laws.
As a preliminary matter, there is no federal law mandating employers to provide their employees with time off to vote. Many states, however, have implemented laws regarding voting time.
In Arizona, A.R.S. § 16-402 governs time off for voting purposes. Arizona’s law requires employers to provide employees paid time off to vote. To be eligible for paid voting leave, the employee must make a request prior to the day of the election.
Arizona employers must provide employees with enough paid leave so their employees have three consecutive hours to vote between either the opening of the polls and the start of their shift or the end of their shift and the closing of the polls. For example, if voting polls open at 7:00 a.m. and an employee’s shift starts at 9:00 a.m., the employer could comply with the voting leave law by allowing the employee to arrive at work at 10:00 a.m. and paying the employee wages for the one hour they would have otherwise worked. By granting the one hour of paid leave at the beginning of the employee’s shift, the employer ensures the employee had three consecutive hours to vote. Of course, given the issues that plague our polling places, whether or not three hours is enough is another argument altogether.
Failure to adhere to the statute could result in a Class 2 misdemeanor, so it’s not something you want to risk.
About the Author: Alejandro Pérez is a partner at Jaburg Wilk. Fully bilingual, Alejandro assists employers of all sizes with labor and employment law issues. In addition to representing clients in litigation, Alejandro provides advice and counsel on HR decisions; conducts sensitive workplace investigations; drafts and reviews employment policies, handbooks, and agreements; and trains workforces on a variety of aspects of employment law.
This blog is provided for educational and informational purposes only. To speak with an attorney, please contact our office at 602.248.1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org