The current national election has prompted more interest than most elections in recent years. In anticipation of an active election day, employers should plan now for employee absences to vote. Many states require employee time off to vote on election day unless there is a sufficient amount of time to vote outside of the employee’s work day. Certain states mandate the time off be paid. It should also be noted that most statutes requiring time off to vote are worded specifically to allow employees off on election day. The fact that an employee could have engaged in early voting before election day is usually not a defense for denying time off to vote on election day. In every case where time off is required consideration must be given to the employee’s work schedule and the hours available to vote.
A summary of state laws governing time off to go to the polls is available here. In Texas, generally speaking the law is that employees must be given time off to vote if polling places are not open for at least two hours outside of their normal work day.