Employment LawScene Alert: Voting Leave – What Wisconsin Employers Need to Know

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 is Election Day. While there is no federal law that requires employers to grant employees leave to vote, Wisconsin law does require voting leave. Wis. Stat. § 6.67. What Wisconsin employers need to know:

  • All Wisconsin employers are required to give employees who are eligible to vote up to three consecutive hours of leave to vote while the polls are open. Wisconsin’s polls are open from 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM.
  • Employers cannot deny this leave on the basis that employees would have adequate time outside of their working hours to vote while the polls are open.
  • The law does not require that these hours are paid. However, employers should be cautious about reducing an exempt employee’s pay.
  • The employee must request the time off to vote prior to the election.
  • The employer can specify which three consecutive hours an employee is permitted to utilize as voting leave.
  • Employees cannot be penalized for utilizing voting leave.

Two other provisions that Wisconsin employers should be aware of are 1) they may not refuse to let employees serve as election officials under Wis. Stat. § 7.30 or make any threats or inducements to prevent employees from doing so; and 2) they cannot distribute printed materials to employees that contain a threat that if a particular party or candidate is elected that the business will shut down, in whole or in part, or that the salaries or wages of employees will be reduced. Wis. Stat. § 12.07(2)-(3).

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