Do I Have To Pay My Employees in California If They Want to Vote?

Simple answer is it depends.

California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them that if necessary, they can take up to two (2) hours of paid time off to vote in a statewide election, if they do not have sufficient time to vote outside of working hours.

Polls are generally open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If an employee requests paid time off to vote, the employer should inquire as to why it is that the employee is unable to vote outside of working hours. For example, if an employee works from 8 to 5, and lives 30 minutes from the worksite, and there is a polling location near the employee’s residence, the employee should have sufficient time to vote. However, if the employee works longer hours, or works at a remote location, the employee may need paid time off, depending on the particular circumstances.

A sample of this notice, as well as a notice to employers regarding time off for voting is available at the links noted below as a PDF download or, you may call the Elections Division at (916) 657-2166 to order posters of the notices.

Employers must post this/these employee notice(s) 10 days before a statewide election. A statewide election is an election held throughout the state. The employee notice must be posted either in the workplace or where it can be seen by employees as they enter or exit their place of work.

Employees can be given as much time as they need in order to vote, but only a maximum of two (2) hours is paid. Employers may require employees to give advance notice that they will need additional time off for voting. Employers may require time off to be taken only at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift.

The notices to employees and employers regarding employee time off for voting is available as a PDF download by clicking on one of the following links: