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Handling Employee Requests to Vote During Work Hours

Publications

October 26, 2012

With Election Day around the corner, many employees will be asking whether they can be excused from work to go vote. In Tennessee, the answer depends on when the particular employee is scheduled to work. However, this is a matter of state law such that different rules can apply depending on the location of the workforce.

Yes – Employer must excuse to vote

In Tennessee, if an employee’s work schedule prohibits them from voting before or after regular work hours, the employee must be excused (with pay) for a reasonable period of time to vote while the polls are open. A reasonable time period should not exceed three hours. The employee requesting time off to vote must do so before noon on November 5th. Employers can determine when to excuse employees to vote so as to cause the least disruption to their business operations.

No – Employer is not required to excuse to vote

In Tennessee, if the employee’s shift begins three hours or more after the polls open, or ends three hours or more before the polls close, there is no requirement to excuse the employee to vote.

Although most states have laws similar to the Tennessee statute, there are variations. If you have a question about a specific state or any other employee-related problem, please call one of the attorneys in our Labor and Employment Practice.

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