Should companies give employees time off to vote?

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Posted by Pete DeBellis on November 6, 2018.

Voter turnout in the United States significantly lags behind that of most highly developed, democratic countries.1 It’s a complex issue, and one that many individuals care about. But do organizations have any obligation to address it—for instance, by giving employees time off to vote? While extra paid or unpaid time away from work may pose direct and indirect costs for employers, many employers are willing to invest in these programs on the basis of their impact on society—a phenomenon Deloitte identified as “The rise of the social enterprise” in its 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report.2

There is currently no federal law in the United States that requires employers to offer time off to employees for the purposes of voting. However, the majority of US states have enacted laws that allow for time off to vote.3 Some elements of these laws vary from state to state—for example, time limits and whether the time off must be paid.

State-level legislation notwithstanding, employers may certainly decide to offer voting time off in states where it is not required, or to exceed statutory minimums in

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