Selected SLC Research


Policy Analysis | October 1, 2016

What are the state laws governing employee voting leave in SLC member states?

Nine of the 15 SLC member states provide regulatory guidelines under which employers may grant employees time off to vote in an election.

State and Code Section Voting Leave Law
Alabama
Code § 17-1-5
Each employee in the state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which the employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which the primary or election is held. The necessary time off shall not exceed one hour and if the hours of work of the employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least one hour prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided in this section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this section.
Arkansas
Code § 7-1-102
Each employer in the state shall schedule the work hours of employees on election days so that each employee will have an opportunity to exercise the right of franchise.
Florida Employee leave for voting not regulated.
Georgia
Code § 21-2-404
Each employee in this state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take any necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which such primary or election is held; provided, however, that such necessary time off shall not exceed two hours; and provided, further, that, if the hours of work of such employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least two hours prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided for in this Code section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this Code section.
Kentucky
Statutes § 118-035
No person shall be penalized for taking a reasonable time off to vote, unless, under circumstances which did not prohibit him from voting, he fails to vote. Any qualified voter who exercises his right to voting leave under this section but fails to cast his vote, under circumstances which did not prohibit him from voting, may be subject to disciplinary action.
Louisiana Employee leave for voting not regulated.
Mississippi Employee leave for voting not regulated.
Missouri
Statutes § 115-639
Any person entitled to vote at any election held within this state shall, on the day of such election, be entitled to absent himself from any services or employment in which he is then engaged or employed, for a period of three hours between the time of opening and the time of closing the polls for the purpose of voting, and any such absence for such purpose shall not be reason for the discharge of or the threat to discharge any such person from such services or employment; and such employee, if he votes, shall not, because of so absenting himself, be liable to any penalty or discipline, nor shall any deduction be made on account of such absence from his usual salary or wages; provided, however, that request shall be made for such leave of absence prior to the day of election, and provided further, that this section shall not apply to a voter on the day of election if there are three successive hours while the polls are open in which he is not in the service of his employer. The employer may specify any three hours between the time of opening and the time of closing the polls during which such employee may absent himself.
North Carolina Employee leave for voting not regulated.
Oklahoma
Statutes § 26-7-101
Every corporation, firm, association or individual hereinafter referred to as "employer" who, on election day, has a registered voter employed or in his service, shall grant the employee two (2) hours of time during the period when the election is open in which to vote, and if such employee be in the county or at such distance from the voting place that more than two (2) hours are required in which to attend such elections, then the employee shall be allowed a sufficient time in which to cast a ballot. No such employee shall be entitled to such time to vote unless the employee notifies orally or in writing an employer's representative of the employee’s intention to be absent, on the day preceding the election day. Upon proof of voting, such employee shall not be subject to any loss of compensation or other penalty for such absence. Such employer shall select the hours which such employees are to be allowed in which to attend such elections, and shall notify each of the employees which hours they are to have in which to vote. This section shall not apply to an employee whose work day begins three (3) hours or more subsequent to the time of opening of the polls, or ends three (3) hours or more prior to the time of closing the polls. The employer may change the work hours to allow such three (3) hours before the beginning of work or after the work hours.
South Carolina Employee leave for voting not regulated.
Tennessee
Code § 2-1-106
(a) Any person entitled to vote in an election held in this state may be absent from any service or employment on the day of the election for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed three (3) hours, necessary to vote during the time the polls are open in the county where the person is a resident.

(b) A voter who is absent from work to vote in compliance with this section may not be subjected to any penalty or reduction in pay for such absence.

(c) If the tour of duty of an employee begins three (3) or more hours after the opening of the polls or ends three (3) or more hours before the closing of the polls of the county where the employee is a resident, the employee may not take time off under this section.

(d) The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may be absent. Application for such absence shall be made to the employer before twelve o'clock (12:00) noon of the day before the election.

Texas
Election Code § 276-004
(a) A person commits an offense if, with respect to another person over whom the person has authority in the scope of employment, the person knowingly:

(1) refuses to permit the other person to be absent from work on election day for the purpose of attending the polls to vote; or

(2) subjects or threatens to subject the other person to a penalty for attending the polls on election day to vote.

(b) It is an exception to the application of this section that the person's conduct occurs in connection with an election in which the polls are open on election day for voting for two consecutive hours outside of the voter's working hours.

Virginia Employee leave for voting not regulated.
West Virginia
Code § 3-1-42
Every person entitled to vote at any election who may be employed by any person, company, or corporation on the day on which such election shall be held in this state, shall, on written demand of such employee, made at least three days prior thereto, be given a period of not more than three hours, if necessary, between the opening and the closing of the polls on such day, for the purpose of enabling such person to repair to the place of voting to cast his vote and return, without liability to any penalty or deduction from his usual salary or wages on account of such absence, except that any employee, who has three or more hours of his own time away from his work or place of employment at any time between the hours of the opening and the closing of the polls on election day and who fails or neglects to vote or elects not to vote during such free time away from his work or employment, may be subject to wage or salary deductions for the time actually absent from his work or employment for voting in such election.

In essential government, health, hospital, transportation and communication services and in production, manufacturing and processing works requiring continuity in operation, the employer may, upon receipt of such written demand for voting time off, arrange and schedule a calendar of time off for any and all of his employees for voting so as to avoid impairment or disruption of essential services and operations, but every such schedule or calendar of time off for voting so arranged shall provide ample and convenient time and opportunity for each employee of such services or works to cast his vote as herein provided.