Time Off for Democracy Act

Summary: The Time Off For Democracy Act guarantees employees minimum paid leave to vote and unpaid leave to serve as an election officer, poll watcher, or campaigner on Election Day.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act shall be called the “Time Off For Democracy Act.”

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE

(A) FINDINGS—The legislature finds that:

1. Thousands of citizens do not participate in elections because work obligations keep them from the polls.

2. Broad participation in elections is essential to a healthy democracy.

3. To facilitate participation in elections, the state must clearly establish the rights of citizens to take time off to participate in elections.

(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to encourage greater citizen participation in the democratic process.

SECTION 3. TIME OFF FOR DEMOCRACY

After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:

(A) TIME OFF ON ELECTION DAY

1. On the day of a federal, state or local election, an employee eligible to vote in that election is entitled to take up to two hours off work, without loss of pay, in order to vote. The employer may limit time off to the hours at the beginning or end of the workday, and may require the employee to produce proof of voting to receive pay for that time off.

2. After giving at least seven days of notice to an employer, an employee shall be entitled to take off work for the entire day, without pay, on the day of a federal, state or local election in order to serve as an election officer or poll watcher, or to campaign for any candidate or ballot measure.

3. No employer shall refuse an employee the right to time off on Election Day pursuant to this section, or penalize, discharge or threaten to discharge an employee because the employee tries to exercise or enforce this right.

(B) NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES

During the 14 days before every statewide election, every employer shall post a notice that sets forth employees’ rights under this section conspicuously at the place of work or elsewhere where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work.

(C) ENFORCEMENT

1. The Department of [Labor] shall promulgate regulations to enforce this section.

2. An aggrieved employee may file an action with a court of competent jurisdiction in order to enforce the employee’s rights under this section.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

This Act shall take effect on July 1, 20XX.


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