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Comply with local, state laws for time off to vote

With Election Day just two weeks away, employers need to make sure they’re providing time off to vote, if it is required under state or local laws.

Agencies left unprepared Nov. 3 could see staffing levels impacted, along with employee morale.

Employers will want to check legal requirements for the number of hours that must be offered and whether leave must be paid, notes a recent post from Jennifer Staples, an associate with San Francisco-based Littler Mendelson.

Many states have a requirement to provide some amount of time for employees to vote, ranging from one to four hours. Though that is typically conditioned on an employee’s inability to vote outside of work hours.

Some states, including Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin, also require employers to provide time off to work at polling places, though employees will typically have to provide advance notice of their absence and this time off is usually unpaid.

Even in states with no requirements, employers will want to check their own internal policies and make sure any requests for time off are handled fairly and consistently, Staples says.