California has enacted legislation (Assembly Bill 17) that will expand voting protections for employees. Assembly Bill 17 takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Under California law, employers must allow employees time off to vote if they do not have enough non-working hours to do so. Up to two hours of time off to vote must be paid. Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, employers must provide the time off at the beginning or end of the employee's shift, whichever allows the most time for voting and the least time away from work. Employers must post a notice about employees' voting leave rights at least 10 days before every statewide election, and employees must give employers at least two days' notice of their intent to take time off to vote. The state permits any registered voter to cast their ballot by mail.
Assembly Bill 17:
In order to protect employees from coercion and intimidation when voting, Assembly Bill 17 prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that an employee bring their vote-by-mail ballot to work or complete their vote-by-mail ballot at work.
Employers that violate Assembly Bill 17 may be fined up to $10,000 per election.
California employers should review their policies and practices to ensure compliance with Assembly Bill 17. Managers should also be trained on employees' voting leave rights and responsibilities.
Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.