Reminder: CT Employers Must Allow Time Off to Vote
Election Day Calendar

Election Day is November 8 this year. Connecticut employers should be aware  that a statute passed in 2021 requires them to provide their employees with two hours of unpaid time off to vote during the hours of 6:00 am and 8:00 pm on the day of an election. (CGS §31-57y).

Can an Employer Require its Employees to Give Notice of Their Intention to Take Time Off to Vote?

Yes. The law provides that employees who wish to take time off to vote during working hours must request the time at least two working days prior to an election. Employers are advised to notify employees of their right to the time off and their obligation to provide the required notice.

Can an Employee Also Use the Time Off to Register to Vote?

For regular elections, the state conducts Election Day Registration for individuals who have not already registered to vote or who are registered in one town but have moved to another town. Those who register may then vote on the same day. Guidance from the Office of Legislative Research (see Section 94 of the document at this link) suggests that employees would be entitled to time off to register to vote, if qualified, and then to vote on the same day in a regular state election.

For special elections for U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, state senator, state representative or probate judge, the statute specifies that only an “elector” (that is, an employee who has already registered to vote) is entitled to the time off.

What if An Employer Denies the Request for Time Off?

State law provides for a civil penalty of three hundred dollars for each violation of certain provisions of the state labor laws, including the law requiring time off to vote. (CGS §31-69a).

Does the Statute Have an Expiration Date?

This law is currently scheduled to expire on June 30, 2024.  It’s possible that this is because the drafters expect Connecticut to have early voting by then, which would (arguably) eliminate the need for time off from work in order to vote.

Do Other States Have Similar Laws?

Employers with offices in multiple states must determine their obligations under the laws of each of these other states. In New York, for example, an employee is generally entitled to up to two hours of paid leave if he or she does not have sufficient time to vote during non-working hours, and the employer must post a notice not fewer than 10 days before an election informing employees of their rights.

If you have questions about an employee’s leave rights, please contact one of our labor and employment law attorneys.

Related Practices & Industries

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