With Election Day fast approaching, Missouri employers should be aware of their obligations to provide eligible employees with time off to vote. We have complied a list of frequently asked questions to help employers ensure they comply with Missouri’s voting leave law on November 3, 2020.
When is an employee eligible for time off work to vote?
There are three requirements of employee eligibility for voting leave in Missouri:
- First, only individuals entitled to vote in any election in the state of Missouri may be eligible for time off work to vote.
- Second, the employee must request time off to vote before Election Day.
- Third, an employee is not eligible unless his or her shift begins less than three hours after the polls open at 6 a.m. CST and ends less than three hours before the polls close at 7 p.m. CST. In other words, an employee required to report for work before 9 a.m. CST until after 4 p.m. CST would be eligible for time off to vote under this third requirement.
Do I have to pay employees for the time they take off work to vote?
Yes. Missouri law says employers cannot deduct an employee’s pay for taking time off to vote. As such, employees are entitled to receive their usual and customary compensation for all time off work spent voting.
How much paid time off can employees receive for voting?
Employees may receive up to (but not more than) three hours for time off work to vote.
Can I ask the employees for proof that they voted?
Yes. Missouri employers may require that employees provide proof of having actually voted. This requirement should be communicated to employees before they take time off to vote.
Can I decide when on Election Day my employees can take time off to vote?
Yes. Missouri employers have the right to specify when an employee can be absent to exercise his or her right to vote. Additionally, the three-hour period of voting leave provided by the employer may include time before or time after reporting for work, as long as the polls are open.
Even though I have to pay employees for time off to vote, can I count the time as an unexcused absence?
No. Missouri law is clear that any absence for voting cannot be the reason for an employee to be fired (or be threatened with firing), penalized or disciplined.
Should Missouri employers do anything in advance of Election Day?
Yes. Missouri employers should review their workplace policies to confirm they comply with Missouri’s voting leave law. Employers should also inform employees of their right to time off work to vote under state law and notify them that requests for time off to vote must be made before Election Day.
Read about Illinois employee voting laws here.