Time Off to Vote

  1. Is this possible for nurses? Let your unit know, based on your states law timeline for letting your job know, that you will be taking 2 hours off before your shift begins to vote?

    For example, if your state says you need to let you job know at least 2 days in advance that you will be taking your paid time (2 hours) off to go vote - is this still possible for a nurse?

    Of course, there are restrictions such as; if you have 2 consecutive hours that can be taken outside of work on election day, if you are on voluntary time/overtime.

    A nurse would need to take 2 hours at the beginning of the shift or else it may constitute patient abandonment? Would the BON supersede this law in any way?

    I'm off on election day (good thing, it's a 4 hour drive back to where I'm registered). I never knew about this "Time off to vote" law. It varies per state, so read yours, but I thought it was interested and raised some questions I had.
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  3. by   herring_RN
    Thank you. I think it is necessary to plan ahead.
  4. by   BlueDevil,DNP
    Are you sure you need time off? Voting starts here on Monday. I already have my ballot. I can mail it or drop it off anytime after October 20th, no time off necessary.

    check the link to be sure your state doesn't permit early voting
    Absentee and Early Voting
  5. by   KelRN215
    It wouldn't constitute patient abandonment if you signed your patients out to someone else when you left. Nor would it if you came late- you can't abandon an assignment you haven't yet accepted. This, of course, does not necessarily mean that your employer wouldn't try to punish you for coming to work late... even if it was to vote.

    Every state has different laws as far as time off to vote goes. In my state, the law is:
    "Time Off to Vote
    Massachusetts laws requires that employees who apply be granted a leave of absence to vote during the two hours after the polls open in their districts. Payment for voting time is at the discretion of the employer. Most employees have time to vote before or after work. One or two hours in most cases is the maximum time needed to vote. Employees should explain their reasons for needing more time and may also be requested to prove that they have voted by providing the name of the precinct where they cast their ballot."

    Polls in my state are typically open from 7am-8pm. Depending on where one lives, one may reasonably be able to vote exactly at 7am and then make it into work without too much delay. And, depending on where one lives, one reasonably may not be able to do so. My former hospital had a policy that "employees should make all efforts to vote on their own time." Basically, they expected that if you were scheduled to work on election day and you wanted to vote, you would go out of your way to get an absentee ballot. I missed voting in the Special Senate Election in 2010 (the only election I've missed voting in since I was 18) because I had to work a 12 hr shift and my work would not allow me to leave for a short period of time to vote. My voting place was 3 miles from the hospital. I probably should have applied for an absentee ballot but, if I remember correctly, I didn't know I was working that day until shortly before the election because our schedule didn't come out in any reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, this year, it's not an issue because I work 7:30-3:30 on Tuesdays.
  6. by   nrsang97
    You can always get an absentee ballot. That is what I would do. I'm glad I work nights now so I can either go in the morning or before work if I work that day.
  7. by   Wild Irish LPN
    early voting is available just about everywhere...no need for time off....
  8. by   DroogieRN
    I'm voting early, since I'm scheduled for Nov. 6. It takes a little pre-planning, but most states let you vote early 13 days before the election. Shouldn't be a problem.
  9. by   Screen name
    I'd rather use my 2 hours up
  10. by   xoemmylouox
    I actually take the day off to work the polls. I let all of my employers know. It's something that is very important to me. If you think you may be forced to work please vote early. Most states have many days/times you can vote early.
  11. by   NRSKarenRN
    PA along with several states, does not have Time Off to Vote law nor early voting except by absentee ballot.

    Voting Rights and State Voting Laws: Time off to Vote, Voting Location, Voter Registration, Online Voting, Voting System and more - 2008 voting
  12. by   Elladora
    Iowa code states that they have to give you three hours to vote but only if you don't have three hours outside of your working hours in which to do so. It also states they are under no obligation to pay you for that time off. That said, it usually takes me 30 minutes TOPS to vote and that includes driving to my polling place. While I think voting is important, I can't imagine taking time off work to do so, especially when there is early and absentee voting available.

    Iowa Code at Section 49.109 states that any employee eligible to vote in Iowa must have at least three (3) consecutive hours during the time the polls are open (currently 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.) in which they have time to go vote. An employer may have to give the employee some time off to make sure the person has these three (3) consecutive hours, totaling up work time and non-working time. For example, if an employee’s normal working hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p. m., the employer has NO obligation to give the employee time off to vote because there are at least three (3) consecutive hours at the end of the employee’s work day, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., when the polls are still open. Now if the employee’s work hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., then the employer is obligated to allow the employee an hour of leave either at the beginning of the day, or the end of the day, or sufficient time off in the middle of the day, to make sure the person has sufficient time off in which to go vote. An employer does not have to pay the employee for the time off to vote, unless the employer has a policy or past practice of doing so, then the employer must follow the policy or past practice. It is up to the employer if the employer wants to make the employee take it as unpaid leave, vacation, or some kind of paid time off.
  13. by   AJpcvRN
    I have actually been wondering about this myself. I had every intention of voting early, but then Sandy hit. Instead of being forced to work in a hurricane (for which I am grateful) I lost every day off I had to vote. I was fortunate and work nights, but I had to sacrifice sleep to stand in line for almost an hour to vote. Several of my day shift colleagues could not vote. While Maryland is not a swing state, we had a very historic ballot measure up and I know everyone wanted to vote on it. What should I and my colleagues have expected from the hospital? Are there any hospitals out there that do help their nurses and techs working 12 hour shifts vote? I'd like to know so I can make helpful suggestions to my unit. Thanks