New York Amends Voting Leave Law

On April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the New York State FY 2021 Budget (click here for our recent LEGALcurrents summary on the Budget) which included, among other things, amendments to the New York State Election Law.

As explained in our blog post from May 2019, New York amended its voting leave law in 2019 to make it easier for all employees to take time off to vote. This required all employers in New York State provide employees who are registered to vote with “up to three hours” of paid time off at the beginning or end of a work shift to vote.

Essentially, this new change reverts to the pre-2019 Election Law requirements. The amended Election Law now provides an employee with paid leave at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift (not to exceed two hours) as necessary to provide the employee with four consecutive hours to vote. The employer may designate whether the leave is taken at the beginning or end of the employee’s shift. If the polls are open for a period of four consecutive hours before or after an employee’s shift, then the employee is deemed to have sufficient time to vote outside of work and no paid leave is required. In order to receive paid leave under the Election Law, the employee must provide at least two working days’ notice (but no more than ten working days’ notice) prior to the specific election for which the employee is seeking leave.

The 2020 amendments to the Election Law are effective immediately. Click here to view a PDF copy of the 2020 amendments.

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