Other Work Issues Article


Elections and the Workplace

Employees may want to vote in an election, but cannot afford to miss work.  Other employees may want to vote, but their employer will not let them take the take time off to vote.  There is a law in Arizona that requires employers to give employees paid time to vote.

Arizona Revised Statute 16-402 requires Arizona employers to provide time off for an employee to vote in a primary or general election if the employee has less than three hours either before or after work in which to vote. The employer cannot deduct pay for work time missed as part of these three consecutive hours to vote. This voting law says the employer, not the employee, can specify the hours the employee can take off work to vote.

For example, if the polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and an employee’s work schedule is from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the employee has only one hour to vote before the employee is scheduled to start work or just two hours to vote after the employee’s work shift ends. The employee does not have three consecutive hours to vote before or after the workday.  Therefore, the employee is entitled to some paid time off to vote if the employee wants to vote in the election. 

The employer can specify the employee’s three consecutive hours to vote are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. or from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. If the employer specifies the three consecutive hours to vote are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., the employee must pay the employee for any work missed due to from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. because the employee was voting. The employer is not obligated to pay the employee from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. because this time is not part of the employee’s regular shift.

If the employer specifies the three consecutive hours to vote are from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the employer must pay the employee for work missed after 4:00 p.m.  The employer is not obligated to pay the employee from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. because this time is not part of the employee’s regular shift.

Employers can require that employees wanting to take time off to vote must apply for the time off prior to the election date.  The law does not specify the method in which employees must apply for the time off.

What to do if you are denied time off to vote

If you inform your employer prior to the election date that you will need time off to vote and your employer denies your time off, speak to your employer’s HR department or the person in charge of the company.

If you are still denied time off to vote, you may contact the Arizona attorney general office who can file misdemeanor charges against your employer.  Here is the contact information for the Arizona attorney general offices;

Phoenix Office
1275 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2926
(602) 542-5025
       
Tucson Office
400 West Congress
South Building, Suite 315
Tucson, AZ 85701-1367
(520) 628-6504

Prescott Office
1000 Ainsworth Dr.
Suite A-210
Prescott, AZ  86305-1610
(928) 778-1265

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
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