© 2020 American Payroll Institute, Inc. Compliance With Paid Time Off to Vote Laws Is Critical on Election Day Ashould s Election Day, November 3, approaches, employers ensure compliance with state time off to vote laws in all states in which employees work. Generally, these laws apply when an employee would not otherwise have enough time to vote during non-working hours. Some state laws contain costly penalty provisions for noncompliance. Note that no federal law requires employers to grant employees time off to vote and employers may always be more generous. Paid time off for voting Employers are not permitted to make deductions from an employee’s wages for time spent voting in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the following 21 states: Alaska, Arizona, California (permitted after two hours), Colorado (permitted after two hours), Illinois, Iowa (permitted after two hours), Kansas, Maryland (permitted after two hours proof of voting required), Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York (permitted after two hours), Ohio (unless employee is paid on a piecework, commission, or hourly basis), Oklahoma (proof of voting required), South Dakota, Tennessee (time must be used to vote), Texas, Utah, West Virginia (unless employee fails to vote), and Wyoming (provided legal vote is actually cast). Employee notice Employees must provide some form of notice, including advance requests for time off, to employers for time off to vote in the District of Columbia and the following 18 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts (for certain industries), Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Penalties There are penalty provisions, including fines and prison time, for failure to comply with time off to vote (paid or unpaid) requirements in Puerto Rico and the following 22 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts (for certain industries), Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Recent changes The District of Columbia requires employers to provide up to two hours of paid time off to vote to employees who are registered voters as of June 24 (see PAYSTATE UPDATE, Issue 17, Vol. 22). New York reverted back to its prior requirement of two hours of paid time off to vote (from three hours of paid time off see PAYSTATE UPDATE, Issue 10, Vol. 22). Beginning with this year’s primary elections, all statewide elections in Hawaii are conducted by mail and employers are no longer required to provide employees with time off to vote [Hawaii Office of Elections, Hawaii Votes By Mail webpage]. This year, many employees may choose to vote by mail. State time off to vote requirements are still in force and must be followed when applicable. Additionally, check with the appropriate state agency generally the Secretary of State to determine whether depositing mail-in ballots at official drop boxes or post offices on Election Day would be considered time off to vote in that jurisdiction. States with no requirements Employers are not required to provide employees with time off to vote in the following 20 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Even in states that do not require time off to vote, however, many employers are choosing to promote the fulfillment of civic duties by providing paid or unpaid leave so employees can vote or deposit mail-in ballots. Additional resources For more detailed information on when time off to vote must be provided, the number of hours that must be allowed (both paid and unpaid), when employers can specify the hours when time off can be taken, detailed penalty provisions, and polling times, see APA’s Guide to State Payroll Laws, §1.8 Time Off to Vote Laws. California Pay Data Reporting Required Brequired y March 31, 2021, certain California employers that are to file an annual federal Employer Information Report (EEO-1) will be required to submit a pay data report to the state [S.B. 973, L. 2020]. Annual pay data report due by March 31 Private employers with 100 or more employees that are required to file an EEO-1 report under federal law are required to submit a pay data report to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The first annual report will be due by March 31, 2021, and will contain pay data for 2020 (the prior calendar year). If DFEH does not receive the required report from an employer, it October 26, 2020 Volume 22 Issue 21
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