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Employee Time Off to Vote on Election Day in Texas

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There are important mid-term elections occurring in Texas on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Early voting runs from October 24  though November 4, 2022. There are many statewide, state district and U.S. representative races to be decided in this election.

In Texas, employers are required provide employees with time off to vote if:

  • The employee has not already voted early by Election Day;
  • The employee does not have at least two consecutive hours off to vote on election day while the polls are open.

Time off to vote on election day must be paid only if the employee does not have sufficient time off to vote outside the voter employee’s working hours (i.e., two consecutive hours when the polls are open).  For example, an employee working from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. does not have two consecutive hours to vote when the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The employer can proscribe the hours the employee will have off to vote so long as it is reasonable and sufficient for the employee to vote.

Employers with workforces that might the employer to provide time off to vote may consider a variety of options that may help reduce the impact on Election Day.  For example, employees can be encouraged, but not required, to vote early.  Similarly, an employer may consider an Election Day late arrival for the beginning of the shift or early departure at the end of the shift to provide voting employees with at least two consecutive hours to vote when the polls are open.  In addition, an employer could designate a particular two-hour block of time or schedule designated times when employees are released from work in order to vote and better accommodate the operations of the particular workforce.  Careful advance planning, with the advice and input of legal counsel, can balance the important need for employees to vote while reducing or minimizing the potential disruption to an employer’s operations.

 

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