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Time off for Voting in Massachusetts

Published:  February 17, 2020

It is the year 2020 and the Presidential Election race has begun. By the end of this year, our President will be announced based on the votes cast by voters in this country.  Most recently there has been press relating to the first major contests for the presidential primary election including the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary. With the knowledge that voting will soon take place throughout the country, many employees wonder if they will be able to participate and cast a vote at their local polling place. This is a concern because of the time-span the polls are open; employees are left with uncertainty as to whether they will make it to the polls before or after work. Employers need to be aware of a Massachusetts law which gives certain employees the ability to take time off to be able to cast their vote for such elections.

Under M.G.L c. 149, § 178, employers are prohibited from employing an employee in any manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments (retail) who is entitled to vote during the first two (2) hour period after the polls have opened. Under this law, employees can go to their designated polling places during the first two (2) hour period to cast their votes. However, to be able to partake under this law, the employees must request such time off in advance to their employer. This will allow employers the ability to plan as needed to ensure their productivity is not disrupted. Furthermore, it is important to know and understand that this time off from work to cast votes in elections does not have to be paid. Employers will be required to give the time off but will not be required to pay employees for such time off.

With the ability to take time off for voting, more employees will be able to partake in elections without the worry and stress of being required to take time off from work or forgo voting altogether.

If you have any questions about time off for voting, or any other employment law topics, please contact the attorneys at Royal, P.C.

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