Q. Must we give our employees time off to vote? If so, must we pay the employees for the time they spend voting?
A. Employers must allow their employees to vote, but may not have to include that time in computing employees’ pay, depending upon local polling hours.
Texas law prohibits employers from refusing to permit a worker to take time from work on election day if he or she wants to vote. It is also an offense to subject (or threaten to subject) a worker to a penalty for going to the polls on election day to vote.
You do not need to give an employee time off during working hours to vote if the polls are open for two consecutive hours outside the employee’s working hours.
For example, if the polls in the upcoming election close at 7 p.m. and the employee who wishes to vote is scheduled to clock out at 5 p.m., you do not need to grant time off during the workday, as long as you let theat 5 p.m. If, however, the employee is scheduled to work from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and voting hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you must permit the worker to leave to vote.
It is also a felony for an employer to retaliate against a worker for voting for a particular candidate or measure, or for refusing to reveal how he voted.
For details, see: www.tinyurl.com/texas-vote-laws.
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