With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, California voters are looking forward to casting their votes. However, many employees don’t know their voting rights in the workplace. Each year, thousands of Californians give up their right to vote out of fear for losing their jobs or missing out on needed pay.
The California Legislature has taken steps to protect our state’s workers with Section 14000 of the California Elections Code. This law guarantees every California employee up to two paid hours off from work to vote on Election Day. The Legislature enacted this law to make sure no Californian’s job prevents them from voting. The law applies to everyone who works and votes in California, no matter how long they have been at their job. However, employees must meet a few requirements before they can take advantage of this law.
First, you can only take paid time off to vote if you do not have any time to vote outside of working hours. In California, all polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM on election day. If your work schedule prevents you from voting during these hours, you may qualify for time off to vote.
Second, you must let your employer know that you will need time off. Under the law, you have to let your employer know that you need time off to vote at least two work days before the election.
Once you have given notice, your employer can choose when you have time off to vote. They can decide whether you can take time off at the beginning or the end of your shift. They can choose the time that will minimize your time off work while maximizing your time off to vote. You and your employer can also work together to pick a different time where you can vote. Even though your employer gets to weigh in on when you can vote, they can never deny you time off to vote if the other requirements are met.
Finally, even though California law only guarantees you two hours of paid leave to vote, you can take off as much unpaid time to vote as you need.
California has also introduced other protections to make sure everyone can vote. For example, anyone can vote by mail in California. You can apply at any time, as long as your local polling office gets your application 7 days before Election Day. Once you are registered to vote by mail, you can drop your ballot in the mail or take it to your local polling place to be counted. Regardless of your work schedule, the California Legislature has tried to protect every employee’s right to vote, and all Californians should be sure to cast their ballots in this year’s election!
As workplace discrimination and unlawful termination attorneys working in Oakland, San Francisco, and indeed throughout the entire Bay Area, we get many questions on what’s OK and what’s not at the workplace. If you think you may be a victim of wrongful termination, reach out to one of our attorneys for a consultation. With offices in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Anselmo, we can schedule a convenient consultation. We also offer free initial consultations by phone.