It's election time and this is a great opportunity for employers to create an environment that encourages employees to vote. Here are some tips for employers wanting to support their employees as they exercise their right to vote on Tuesday, November 5 and beyond.
1) Provide voter registration resources
You can help employees navigate elections in a nonpartisan way by providing them with information on how to register to vote, registration deadlines and voting locations. Your company’s intranet site or a clever hashtag can be a fun way to make it easier for them to locate this information. Vote.org has some helpful resources.
2) Provide time off to vote
An HR expert can help you create a voting leave policy in accordance with any applicable state voting laws. Many states require employers to provide voting leave to employees in certain circumstances, with some requiring voting leave to be paid, providing the length of time employers are required to give employees to vote and establishing notice requirements, among other requirements. Even in states where there is no specific voting leave law, it is best practice to allow employees paid time off to vote if there is insufficient time for the employee to vote outside of regular working hours.
Implementing a voting leave policy, even if not required by law, can provide encouragement to employees to perform their civic duty. Make sure to communicate that your policy allows them to take time off to vote, the amount of voting leave they may take, and the information they need in order to work with their manager and team to provide notice and have their job requirements covered while they are voting. If possible, allowing for flexible work arrangements on election day, including remote work options, can also be helpful.
3) Secure executive buy-in
Leadership plays an important role in setting the tone for any workplace policy or initiative. It can be helpful to have your company’s founder or a member of the executive team send out a communication on the company’s policy to help spread the word and set the tone for a supportive and positive environment in which employees are comfortable taking time away from work to cast their ballots.
4) Make sure voting leave is consistently provided
Working with your HR services provider to create your voting leave policy will help ensure that your policy is applied to all employees in a consistent manner, minimizing potential discrimination or retaliation issues. Communication about your voting leave policy, designed and executed to reach all employees in advance of election day, can help ensure that employees are aware of the voting leave policy, equipped to discuss any needed leave with their supervisors prior to election day, and feel comfortable taking an appropriate amount of time off work to vote.
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