Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reminder: Time Off To Vote

Our Contract

A quick reminder: Article 15 of the contract provides for paid leave to vote, if that's the only way you can get to the polls:

Leave to Vote

15.22 An employee who would otherwise be unable to vote outside of his/her regular working hours may be granted up to two (2) hours of work time without loss of pay to vote at a general, direct primary, special, or presidential primary election.

An employee shall be required to request such leave time in writing from the appropriate administrator at least two (2) working days prior to the election.

Elections Code: Leave to Vote

Our contract largely echoes the California Elections Code:

14000. (a) If a voter does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without loss of pay, take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable the voter to vote.

Elections Code: Notice Requirement

California law also requires employers to post notice of this right at least 10 days before a statewide election. CSU Technical Letter 2004-21 confirms the posting requirement applies to the CSU, stating California Election Code Section 14001 requires that employers, including the California State University (CSU), post a notice informing employees of the right to take up to two hours of paid time off to vote in a statewide election if the employee does not have sufficient time during non-work hours to vote.

Interestingly, we have never seen such a notice on a campus, and our spot checks found no campus where this notice is posted. One HR director has actually said the law doesn't apply to his campus, and refuses to post the notices, on the grounds that every employee has a lunch break. He argues that 30 minutes is enough time for anyone to drive home (whether the employee drives or not, apparently, and no matter where they live), stand in line at the polling place, vote (however many pages the ballot may be), and get back to work. We were unable to find the phrase unless employees have lunch breaks in either the law or the technical letter.


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