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Can I get paid time off of work to vote?

The mid-term elections are just around the corner. Polling places will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. If you’re an employee who works long shifts, this timeframe may leave you with insufficient time to vote. What are your legal rights surrounding your ability to cast your ballot?

Time off on Election Day

Under Texas law, if your work schedule doesn’t afford you at least two consecutive hours when the polls are open to go vote outside of working hours, then your employer must give you paid time off to do it. If this time off—when added to your regular working hours for the week—exceeds 40 hours, then you can receive overtime pay for this additional time.

Protection from retaliation

Your employer is required by law to treat you fairly if you choose to take time off to vote. They may not threaten or penalize you for:

  • Voting,
  • How you voted or
  • Choosing not to disclose how you voted.

Your employer may ask you to provide proof that you voted, but you are not legally required to do so.

Giving notice

There is no law that requires a Texas employee to give their employer notice of their time off to vote. However, individual employer policies may have such requirements. It is a good idea to check your employer handbook in advance of Election Day.

Other time off

Texas law also states that employees can take time off to attend political conventions. This is unpaid, job-protected time off. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against any employee for taking time off for such purposes.

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