We are approaching the conclusion of this Spring’s lengthy election campaign. In advance of Election Day, there are a few important points employers should be aware of:
Employees entitled to three hours to vote
On June 12th the polls will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m (or 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in those areas of the province that observe Central Time). Employees are entitled to three consecutive hours while the polls are open for the purpose of voting. But, this does not mean that all employees get to take off for three hours during their regular work day in order to go cast their ballot. Employers are required to accommodate an employee only if the employee’s hours of work do not allow for the required three consecutive hours. For example, an employee who begins work at 11:00 a.m. and does not finish work until 7:00 p.m. does not have three consecutive hours within which to vote. In such circumstances, the employee may request time off for voting and an employer is required to grant such a request, without any reduction in the employee’s pay.
Employers entitled to select the most convenient time
Even if an employee is entitled to time off, the employee may not depart work at any time to go cast his or her ballot. The Election Act specifies that time off for voting is to be granted at the time of day most convenient for the employer.
Employees entitled to leave for election duties
The Election Act also specifies that an individual participating in the election as an election official is entitled to time off to perform the role. An employee requesting leave under these provisions must make a request for the leave at least seven days prior to when the leave is to commence. An employer is not required to pay the employee during this period of leave, however, the leave cannot be subtracted from any vacation entitlement.