Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reminder: Paid Time Off to Vote

Two quick reminders:

  1. You have the right to take paid time off to vote if you need to. You must request it 2 working days in advance (see below).
  2. If you get to your polling place and the poll workers say you're not on their list of voters, insist on casting a provisional ballot.
    This is your right, and poll workers cannot legally say no. A provisional ballot means your registration will be double-checked, and if you're a registered voter your vote will be counted.

Time Off to Vote (Contract)

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.

Time Off to Vote (State Law)

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 that 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 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 he/she lives), 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 CSU's own technical letter.


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