New York Election Law Amended to Allow Workers Up to Three Hours of Paid Time Off to Vote

Monday, April 15, 2019

On April 1, 2019, Governor Cuomo announced amendments to the State’s 2020 fiscal year budget. Buried within was an amendment to Section 3-110 of the state Election Law which will entitle virtually all employees who are registered voters to take up to three hours of paid leave, regardless of their actual work schedule, to vote at any election. The amended law is expected to dramatically increase the number of employees who will now be entitled to paid leave to vote.
 
Some key points of the legislative changes:
  • The amendment removes the prior requirement that the employee must not have sufficient time before or after work hours when the polls are open to vote, in order to be eligible for paid leave to vote.
  • The employee must provide the employer with at least two working days in advance of the day of election of the required time off to vote. 
  • An employer does have the discretion to designate whether the leave will be taken at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift (work day), unless otherwise mutually agreed. 
  • The law is silent on whether an employer can require proof of the need for leave to vote, or proof of voting. However, the form of the amendments appears to indicate that whether an employee has sufficient time to vote outside of work hours is a fact that can no longer be considered in granting paid leave to vote. 
 
In addition, employers are still required to post a notice of employees’ rights to voting time off, no less than ten working days before each public election. The notice must remain posted until the polls close. 
 
The amendment is scheduled to take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signing of the budget (which as of April 10th hadn’t yet occurred) and will likely apply to time off to vote in the State primary elections on June 25, 2019.
 
Please contact any of the attorneys below from our labor and employment practice group if you have any questions.

 

Richard J. Andino
S. Alexander Berlucchi
Melinda B. Bowe
John R. Langey
Christopher M. Militello
Michael A. Tremont

 

This communication is not intended to serve as legal advice.
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