California Has Mail-in Voting Options, Do I Still Need to Provide Paid Time Off for My Employees to Vote This Year?

Someone drops off an envelope into a mailbox that reads "Mail In Ballot"

This year, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued orders to make vote-by-mail ballots available to all registered voters for the November election.  He is also requiring availability of early polling locations for at least three days prior to election day.  These initiatives have many employers questioning whether they still need to provide paid time off for their employees to vote.

Pursuant to California Election Code § 14000 and as described in your MMC handbook, employers must provide two hours of paid time for employees to vote.  The intent of the law is to provide an opportunity to vote for employees who would not be able to do so because of their jobs.  There is no change to this requirement due to the availability of mail-in ballot or the early voting options.

As an employer, you may require that employees request the time at least two working days before it is to be taken. This may help with any scheduling issues you foresee.  You may also require that the time off be taken at the beginning or end of their scheduled shift, if that is least disruptive to your business. 

Lastly, employers must also post a notice of voting time requirements at least 10 days before an election in an area where employees can easily see it.  The notice can be printed here:

We strongly encourage you to reach out to any member of the MMC HR Services team if you have any questions.