Employee Voting Time

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​​​​​​​​​​​​Policy and Compliance Update for the State of Georgia HR Community

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4, 2014, and with many employees working different schedules throughout the state this advisory offers guidance to assist you with administering time off to vote.  The State of Georgia encourages employees to exercise their right to vote in all federal, state, and local elections and has developed guidelines to allow employees to request time off for doing so.  Employees who meet certain guidelines may not only be granted time off, but also paid leave to vote.  See the attached for excerpts from State Personnel Board Rule 478-1-.16(12) Voting Leave.


Eligibility for Voting Leave


 

Paid administrative leave for voting is available to employees when their work schedule does not allow them at least two (2) hours (including travel) to vote either before or after work.  Employees who are scheduled to begin work at least two hours after the polls open or end work at least two hours before the polls close are not eligible to request paid leave for voting.  Administrative leave for voting is not available for voting mid-day.

The amount of paid administrative leave for voting that may be granted to an employee depends on the employee's work schedule and the polling hours.  In Georgia, polls usually open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.  Based on this information, the chart below provides some practical examples of how SPB Rule 16(12) should be applied:
 

Schedule Shift

Eligible for Voting Leave

Reason

​Eligible Amount of Voting Leave


6:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (30 minute lunch)

No

Employee ends work more than 2 hours before poll closure.

  None

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (30 minute lunch)

No

Employee ends work more than 2 hours before poll closure.

  ​None

8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
 (1 hour lunch)

Yes

Employee begins/ends work within 2 hours of poll closure. Thirty minutes of voting leave will ensure the employee has a full two hours to vote.

​30 minutes at the beginning of the workday or 30 minutes at the end of the workday

8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (30 minute lunch)

No

Employee's shift ends 2 hours before poll closure.

None

9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (30 minute lunch)

No

Employee's shift begins more than 2 hours after polls open.

None

9:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (30 minute lunch)

No

Employee's shift begins 2 hours after polls open.

None

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (30 minute lunch)

Yes

Employee does not have at least 2 hours before or after work to vote.

2 hours at the beginning of the workday or 30 minutes at the end of the workday

 
Agencies are also free to make flexible work schedule arrangements with employees as they see fit for voting purposes.  Employees of agencies that do not permit flexible start or end times may request to use compensatory time or other types of accrued leave other than sick leave if they are not eligible for paid voting leave or require more than 2 hours to vote.  Approval of the request is at the discretion of the agency; however, effort should be made to ensure staff can vote.
 

Early Voting


Some jurisdictions open polls for early voting in more limited time periods prior to the official Election Day.  Agencies may authorize paid voting time on early voting days if doing so minimally disrupts normal operations.  Due to the more limited time periods polls are open for early voting, an employee voting early may request to use more than two hours of leave to vote early.  However, no employee may be granted more than two hours of paid administrative leave for voting.  Thus, if an agency in its discretion decides to allow for paid administrative leave for early voting, an employee may have to use both paid administrative leave and additional accrued leave or compensatory time to cover the requested absence.

For early voting locations and times by county see the Secretary of State's website​.


 

Scheduling and Approval of Voting Time


Any employee wishing to take time off, which may include paid administrative leave under SPB Rule 16(12), for voting should request the leave in advance per the normal leave request procedures.  It is the agency's decision whether the employee may take the leave before or after work.
               
Reminder for agencies with 24/7 operations -- please note that any voter standing in line at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day will be permitted to vote and may need more time off than originally planned. 

To balance support of each employee's right to vote with the business need to minimize operational interruptions, consider providing written reminders to employees to obtain advance approval to take time off to vote.
 

If you have questions about the information in this advisory, please contact the HRA helpdesk at 404.656.2705 or 1-877-318-2772, or your agency's dedicated HRA Consultant.