Important Recent Changes to NYS Voting Law

October 27, 2020

By: Kimberly Klein and Rebecca Zittell

As workers go to the polls on November 3, 2020, employers should be aware that effective April 3, 2020, New York State Election Law was amended to give eligible employees up to two hours of paid time off to vote if they do not have “sufficient time to vote” outside of working hours.  An employee is deemed to have “sufficient time to vote” if an employee has four or more consecutive hours off between: (a) the time when the polls opened and they began their shift, or (b) the end of their shift and the closing of the polls. 

This is a significant change from just one year ago when New York State expanded the Voting Leave Law in 2019, providing up to three hours of paid voting leave to all employees regardless of whether they had sufficient time outside of working hours to vote.

Under the recent changes, employees must provide their employer with at least two working days - but not more than ten days’ - advance notice of their intent to take paid time off to vote.  Employers may designate whether an employee’s time off will be taken at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift.  The paid time off to vote is in addition to an employee’s accrued unused leave.

Employers must conspicuously post notification of the law at least ten working days before every election.