Before 2019, the New York State Election Law required employers to give employees two hours of paid time off to vote, but only if the employees did not have at least four consecutive hours off work while the polls were open. In 2019, that legislation was amended to give employees three hours to vote, and the “four consecutive hours” requirement was removed.

As of April 3, New York has returned to the pre-2019 version of the Election Law:

  • Employees can request up to two hours of paid time off from work in which to vote.

  • This will apply only to employees who do not have four consecutive hours off work between the opening of the polls and the closing of the polls. Employees who have four hours off while the polls are open are deemed by the statute to have sufficient time to vote without needing paid time off.

  • For qualifying employees, up to two hours of paid time off will be given either at the beginning or at the end of an employee’s shift. (Or another time, if mutually agreed upon by the employer and the employee.)

  • Employees are required to make their requests for voting time off at least two working days (but not more than 10 days) before the day of the election.

The amendment will apply to requests for time off to vote in the state’s primary elections, currently scheduled for June 23, as well as the general election in November.

The Election Law also contains a posting requirement, which was part of all prior versions of the law. At least 10 days before a public election, employers must conspicuously post in the place of work a notice setting forth the voting time off entitlement. Employers are required to keep the posting up until the polls close.

The 2020 amendment to the Election Law was enacted as part of the state budget, which is available here (scroll to pages 104-05).

For a printer-friendly copy, click here.


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