Election Day was an attendance nightmare! Must we allow time off to vote? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Election Day was an attendance nightmare! Must we allow time off to vote?

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Q. Because of the long lines on Election Day, some employees missed hours of work. In the future, do I have to permit employees to take time off to vote?

A.
Yes. Ohio law requires employers to provide all employees a reasonable amount of time off to vote on Election Day.
According to O.R.C. 3599.06: “No employer, his officer or agent, shall discharge or threaten to discharge an elector for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote on election day.... Whoever violates this section shall be fined not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars.”

It is unclear whether this statute also covers time off for early voting, although prudence dictates that employers also allow early voters time away from work. While the time off can be unpaid, companies should be wary of docking salaried employees for fear of jeopardizing exemptions.

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