On April 3, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the State’s FY 2021 Education, Labor, Housing and Family Assistance Budget Bill into law (the “Law”). The Law includes changes applicable to New York employers regarding paid sick leave, time off to vote, occupational licensing requirements, and prevailing wage requirements. Specifically, the Law reduces the time off to vote, which had been revised in April 2019 to increase paid voting time for employees from two to three hours, regardless of whether an employee had sufficient time outside of work to vote.  Effective immediately, employers are now only required to provide an employee with two hours of paid time off to vote instead of three hours.

Under the Law, employees are eligible for two hours of paid time off to vote if they do not have sufficient non-work time to vote, which the law defines as not having four consecutive hours either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of an employee’s working shift, or between the end of an employee’s working shift and the closing of the polls. Although eligible employees will be paid for up to two hours to vote, employees can take additional unpaid time if necessary to allow them to vote.  Additionally, the Law changes the time frame for employees to request paid time off to vote back to its pre-April 2019 version. Now, employees must request time off to vote between two and ten working days before the election. The Law still requires employers to post a notice of the voting leave law not less than ten working days before every election.

Takeaway for Employers

Employers should review and revise their policies and practices to account for the changes to the voting leave law, including the reduction in paid time off to vote from three hours to two hours. Employers should also make sure to post a notice of the voting leave law ten working days in advance of any election.

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Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP


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