Primary Election Day & "Time Off to Vote"

Posted by: Gail Cecchettini Whaley, J.D. on Thursday, February 27, 2020

Super Tuesday is March 3, 2020 — the day when the greatest number of U.S. states hold primary elections and caucuses. California used to hold its primary election in June, but now California voters have a chance to weigh in early in the primary process to help propel a candidate forward.

On March 3, 2020, polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Here's what employers need to know:

  • Employees may take up to 2 hours off work, without a loss of pay, if they don't have enough time to vote during non-work hours.
  • Only a maximum of 2 hours must be paid by the employer, even if more than 2 hours off are needed in order to vote.
  • Employers can require time off to be taken at the beginning or the end of the employee's shift — whichever allows the employee the most free time to vote and the least time off from work.
  • Employers may require employees to give at least 2 working days advance notice to arrange time off to vote.
  • Employers must post the California "Time Off To Vote" notice at least 10 days before every statewide election in a visible location. CEA's 2020 California/Federal Employment Law Poster contains the required notice — so make sure it's hanging up in a clearly visible place at work, such as your employee breakroom! If you don't have the notice, it is available here.

How the Voter's Choice Act May Affect Certain Counties

Employees registered to vote in certain California counties, may find it very tough to argue that they don't have enough time outside of working hours to vote.

Fifteen California counties participate in the Voter's Choice Act which allows registered voters to go to a voting center and vote in person starting 10 days before the election, including the weekend before the election. There are also ballot drop-off locations.

The 15 counties participating in the Voter's Choice Act are: Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, San Mateo, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Orange, Santa Clara, and Tuolumne.

Remember: You can never reward or punish employees for political activities or beliefs, coerce them to support a particular political candidate or ballot measure, or threaten to do so.


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