It’s election season again, and that means that Ohioans will once again take to the polls. But, as an Ohio employer, do you need to allow your employees to take time off from work to vote? Yes. R.C. 3599.06 grants employees “voting leave” by requiring Ohio employers to permit employees to take “reasonable time” off work to vote on election day.

Okay, but do Ohio employers have to pay employees for voting leave? It depends on the employee. The Ohio Attorney General has stated that employers need not compensate hourly employees for voting leave, but employers may not deduct hours spent during voting leave from a salaried employee’s pay.

Additionally, R.C. 3599.06 also prohibits employers from discharging and/or threatening to discharge an employee for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote on election day. And it also prohibits employers from (1) requiring an employee to accompany them to a voting place, (2) refusing to permit an employee to serve as an election official on any registration or election day, or (3) indirectly using any force or restraint or using threats or intimidation to induce or compel a person to vote or refrain from voting for or against any person, question, or issue submitted to voters.

Violation of R.C. 3599.06 carries a statutory penalty of “not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars.”

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Practice Group

Leaves of Absence/Reasonable Accommodation

Managing leaves and reasonably accommodating employees can be complex, frustrating, and expose employers to legal peril. Employers must navigate a bewildering array of state and federal statutes, with seemingly contradictory mandates.

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