Can You Get Paid to Vote During Work Hours? Every State’s Rules

Man in a face mask after voting
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This story originally appeared on Zippia.

No federal laws require employers to give time off work to vote.

However, 29 states say employers must allow workers to vote during work hours.

This means that, depending upon where you live, you may or may not have a legal right to vote during the workday.

Many have exceptions built into the law, however, and may not pay for time off or limit the hours paid.

Following are several frequently asked questions about time off for voting, followed by the policies in each state.

Frequently asked questions about time off for voting

Voting in United States elections
Niyazz / Shutterstock.com

How long will it take to vote?

The time it takes you to vote varies based on the state you live in, the location of your polling place, time of day and many factors completely outside of your control.

Most state laws assume voting will take two hours, so, if possible, you will want to block off at least two hours to be safe.

A GAO survey on voting time found the morning was the fastest time to vote, with most ballots being cast in under 10 minutes.

Do I have to give advance notice to my employer that I plan to vote during work hours?

In general, it is almost never a bad idea to let your employer know you will be arriving a little late or taking a longer-than-usual lunch break.

However, not only is it polite, it is also required in some states to give advanced notice of your intention to vote during work hours.

I want to volunteer or work at the polls on Election Day. Can my employer stop me from doing that?

While more companies are allowing employees time off to work at the polls, there are no federal laws requiring employers to allow employees to work at the polls during elections.

If your work gives volunteer time off, you can ask to use that time to work at the polls. Otherwise, you may need to follow your company leave policy and use paid time off.

How do I ask my employer about voting during work hours?

Just because your state doesn’t require companies to allow workers to vote during work hours, doesn’t mean you cannot vote during work hours.

Many companies go above and beyond state law to help make voting easier for their employees.

If not, you can politely explain that you would like to vote but are unable to do so outside of work hours.

Feel free to suggest compromises, such as working remotely to be closer to your voting stations or shifting your workday to accommodate polling place hours.

Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, one hour

Exceptions

If the hours of work of an employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least one hour prior to the closing of the polls

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, “reasonable notice”

Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
Rex Lisman / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, not specified

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive hours available while the polls are open at the beginning or end of a shift

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
welcomia / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, up to three hours off between work and non-work time

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has three consecutive hours available while the polls are open at the beginning or end of a shift

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, at least one day before the election

Arkansas

Jonesboro, Arkansas
Rey Alpizar / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, an employer must schedule work hours so the employee has time to vote.

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

No

California

San Bernardino, California
Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, up to two hours at the beginning or end of a shift

Paid or unpaid?

Yes (up to two hours)

Is advance notice required?

Yes, two working days before the election

Colorado

Westminster, Colorado
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, up to two hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has three non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid, up to two hours

Is advance notice required?

No

Connecticut

The skyline of Hartford Connecticut, where median rents are relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Delaware

Delaware
Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

An employee who has accrued vacation time and is not in a “critical need” position may serve as an election officer without reprisal by the employer.

Florida

Tampa, Florida
Ilya Images / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But workers can’t be disciplined or fired based on how they vote.

Georgia

Kennesaw, Georgia
Demetrius C / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, as much as necessary, up to two hours

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

The employee must provide reasonable notice.

Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
MNStudio / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two consecutive hours

The employer cannot change an employee’s regular work schedule.

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Charles Knowles / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Page Light Studios / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours

Exceptions

An employer may decide when hours are taken except that the employer must permit a two-hour absence during working hours if an employee’s working hours begin less than two hours after opening of the polls and end less than two hours before closing of the polls.

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, one day in advance for general or state election

Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Iowa

downtown Ames, Iowa
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, as much time as will add up to three hours, when combined with non-work time

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has three consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, in writing prior to the election

Kansas

Wichita, Kansas
Gary L. Brewer / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours or as much time as will add up to two hours, when combined with non-work time

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

Kentucky

A historic district of Louisville, Kentucky
Philip Rozenski / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, “reasonable time,” but not more than four hours

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

One day’s notice

Louisiana

Streetcar in New Orleans
TFoxFoto / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employers of 20 or more employees can’t interfere with their employees’ “political activities or affiliations.”

Maine

Portland, Maine
Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Maryland

The shore of Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia, Maryland
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive non-work hours available while polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes

Massachusetts

Lowell, Massachusetts
Andriy Danylov / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, the first two hours that polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

An employee must apply for a leave of absence (no time specified)

Michigan

A street-level view of Saginaw, Michigan
ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Minnesota

Rochester, Minnesota
IMG_191 / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

May be absent during the morning of Election Day

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Rex Wholster / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

There are no specific laws regarding time off to vote.

Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, three hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has three consecutive non-work hours available while polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid, but the employee must vote

Is advance notice required?

Yes, “prior to the day of election”

Montana

Montana town
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Nebraska

Alliance, Nebraska
davidrh / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, as much time as will add up to two hours, when combined with non-work time

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, prior to or on Election Day

Nevada

Las Vegas homes
trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

If it is not practical to vote before or after work, an employee may take time off based on the distance from the polling place

Exceptions

Not required if sufficient time during non-work hours is available while polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, prior to Election Day

New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employers cannot influence or intimidate employees to vote for or against a particular candidate.

New Jersey

Jersey City, New Jersey
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee’s workday begins more than two hours after the polls open or ends more than three hours before the polls close

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
BrigitteT / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee’s workday begins more than two hours after the polls open or ends more than three hours before the polls close

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

New York

NYC New York City skyline at night
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, as much time at the beginning or end of shift as will give an employee time to vote, when combined with non-work time

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has four consecutive non-work hours available at the beginning or end of shift while polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid, up to two hours

Is advance notice required?

Yes, not more than 10 or less than two working days before the election

North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employers cannot discharge or threaten workers based on how they vote or don’t vote.

North Dakota

North Dakota Capitol
Ace Diamond / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Employers are encouraged to give employees time off to vote when the regular work schedule conflicts with times the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

No

Ohio

Cincinnati
Anne Kitzman / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, “reasonable time”

Paid or unpaid?

Paid only for salaried employees

Is advance notice required?

No

Oklahoma

Oklahoma
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours, unless an employee lives so far from the polling place that more time is needed

Exceptions

Not required if an employee’s workday begins more than three hours after the polls open or ends more than three hours before the polls close

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Orally or in writing one day before the election

Oregon

Eugene, Oregon
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, downtown evening rush hour.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employers cannot threaten or intimidate employees to influence their political opinions or actions.

Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employers cannot put information in pay envelopes or post information designed to influence employees’ political actions.

South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Bf11photo / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employers cannot discharge a worker because of political opinions or the exercise of political rights and privileges.

South Dakota

Pierre, South Dakota from above
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two consecutive hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee
Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, reasonable time up to three hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee’s workday begins more than three hours after the polls open or ends more than three hours before the polls close

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, before noon on Election Day

Texas

San Antonio, Texas outdoors
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

An employer may not refuse to allow an employee to take time off, but no time limit specified.

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has two consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

No

Utah

Utah
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, two hours at the beginning or end of shift

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has at least three non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, before Election Day

Vermont

Vermont
DonLand / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

Virginia

Arlington, Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require companies to give workers time off to vote.

But employees working and commuting for 11 hours of the 13 hours the polls are open may vote by absentee ballot.

Washington

Tacoma, Washington
Real Window Creative / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

No laws require employers to give workers time off to vote.

However, no person, including an employer, can attempt to influence any person to withhold his or her vote.

West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Andrei Medvedev / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, up to three hours

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has at least three non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid (if employee votes)

Is advance notice required?

Written request at least three days before the election

Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, up to three consecutive hours

Paid or unpaid?

Unpaid

Is advance notice required?

Yes, before Election Day

Wyoming

People kayaking on a lake with a mountain in the background.
B Brown / Shutterstock.com

Does the law offer time off?

Yes, one hour, other than a meal break

Exceptions

Not required if an employee has at least three consecutive non-work hours available while the polls are open

Paid or unpaid?

Paid (if employee votes)

Is advance notice required?

No

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