State law requires that workers have ample time to cast ballots
Published: November 2, 2008
Q: Tuesday is election day. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?
A: Yes. Oklahoma law requires employers to provide employees up to two hours time off to vote during regular polling hours, if they do not have sufficient time to vote before or after work on Election Day.
Q: Does an employee have to ask in advance for the time off?
A: That's right. To qualify, the employee must be a registered voter and notify the employer the day before the election — either in writing or orally — if he/she needs time off to vote. It is then up to the employer to specify what time the employee may take off to vote. The time off is paid with proof of voting; most employers are happy to accept the “I voted” stickers as proof.
Q: Are there any exceptions?
A: An employee is excluded if his/her work day begins three hours or more after the polls open or ends three hours or more before the polls close. In addition, an employer may change the employee's regular work schedule so he/she will have the required three consecutive non-working hours off to vote. If this happens, the employer must notify the employee which hours he/she is allowed to attend the election.
Paula Burkes, Business Writer