New York Poised to Provide Employees With Three Hours of Paid Voting Leave

UPDATE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on April 12, 2019.

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 9, 2019

Employees in New York would be entitled to three hours of paid voting leave under a new bill that awaits the governor's signature.

A provision in New York's 2019-2020 budget bill would amend the state voting leave law to provide:

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.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed his support for the bill and is expected to sign it into law. The voting leave amendments would take effect immediately upon his signature.

Currently, employees may take as much time off as needed, when combined with nonworking hours, that enables them to vote. However, employers are required to pay only up to two hours, not three. Employers may designate whether the employee takes time to vote at the beginning or the end of the employee's shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed.

The amendments also would:

  • Repeal an exemption that allows employers to deny leave to employees who have four consecutive hours between either the opening of the polls and the start of their work shift or the closing of the polls and the end of their work shift; and
  • Modify the requirement that employees must notify their employer that they require time off to vote no more than 10 but no less than two working days before the day of the election to remove the "no more than 10" clause.

The requirement that employers must conspicuously post a notice of employee voting leave rights would remain unchanged.