With the general election fast approaching on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, now is the time for employers to ensure that they comply with New York’s voting leave law. Employers should be especially mindful that New York law requires the posting of a notice at least 10 working days prior to “every election,” meaning that the posting must go up by Tuesday, October 23, 2012 to ensure compliance for the upcoming general election. The New York State Board of Elections’ sample poster can be found here.

Under N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(1), employers must provide their employees with “sufficient time” for “any election” so that employees may vote. However, pursuant to N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(2), employers need not provide leave if an employee has four consecutive voting hours either before or after work, or if the employee has sufficient time between the end of a working shift and the closing of the polls. In the state of New York, polls are open between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. E.S.T. for general elections.

To facilitate voting, and for employees who do not have sufficient time to vote during their normal workday, New York’s voting leave law further requires that employers provide up to two hours of paid leave to vote—at either the beginning or the end of an employee’s shift. Under N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(3), employees seeking paid leave must notify their employer between two to ten working days prior to the election, or between October 23 and November 2, 2012 for the upcoming general election.

N.Y. Election Law § 3-110(4) further requires that every employer post “conspicuously in the place of work” a notice setting forth the provisions of the voting leave law. As noted above, for the upcoming general election, this notice must be posted by Tuesday, October 23, 2012, and must remain in place until the close of the polls on November 6, 2012. Given that New York law broadly requires this posting prior to “every election,” New York employers may wish to simply include the election leave posting as part of their ongoing compliance posters.

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