Disability, Leave Employee Leave for Jury Duty and Voting in Elections

In most states, employers are required to give employees time off from their job for jury duty or to vote in an election.

Introduction: Leave for Jury Duty and Voting

Employees are allowed to take time off from their job to serve on a jury or to vote according to laws in most states in the United States. The details of these laws will vary from state to state, with some requiring the employer to pay the employee while they are on leave from work and others only requiring the employer to provide unpaid leave. In some states, the employee must show written proof that they have been requested to serve on a jury and some states also have criminal penalties imposed on employers if they retaliate against an employee for taking time off from work to serve on a jury or to vote in an election.

Time Off From Your Job for Voting

In almost every state, an employee who takes time off from work to vote in an election cannot be subject to retaliation at their job by their employer. In some states the employer must provide time off from work for the employee to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Some states even require the employer to pay the employee for this time away from the job. Other states only require the employer to provide unpaid leave for employees to cast a vote at their local voting polling station.

In some states the employee is only allowed to take time off from work to go to the polls if they cannot do so either after work or before work hours. Some of these laws regarding leave for voting will only apply to employees who provide proof that they have actually used the time for casting their vote or if they provide notice of their intention to take time off for voting in an election.

Your own employer may have policies regarding taking time off from work to cast your vote in an election so check your employee handbook. The employee handbook should also cover whether you are entitled to be paid during your time off from work.

Time Off from Work for Jury Duty

It is not uncommon for employers to pressure employees to try their hardest to avoid jury duty service because they do not want to provide the time off from work. Because of this problem, most states have laws preventing employers from retaliating against employees who serve on a jury as well as attempts to induce employees to avoid jury duty. In some states the employee will required to provide written proof to their employer that they have been called to serve for jury duty before they will be allowed to take leave for jury duty.

Some courts provide a small stipend to compensate jurors for their time serving on jury duty. It is usually not a sufficient amount to replace ordinary work income. Still, most states do not require employers to pay staff when they take time off for jury duty. You should check the laws in your state regarding paid time off for jury duty as some states do require employers to partially pay staff who are on jury service. Check your employee handbook, if there is one, to determine whether your employer has a policy for paying staff on jury duty.

Of additional note, most states require that employers must allow the employee to use their accrued paid leave for this time off for jury duty. An employer is also unable to require staff to work a night shift if they have spent the day on jury duty.
Employment & Labor
Leave - Voting and Jury Duty Leave
About author
Michael Wechsler
Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.

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