Iowa Employer Law Blog
Election year reminder: Iowa law on voting leave
Oct. 24, 2012 – Sara R. Laughlin, Iowa Employer Law Blog
Iowa law requires employers to give an employee paid time off from work to vote in an election under certain, limited circumstances. Employees must have at least three consecutive hours of time to vote, but those three hours can be a combination of non-working time and scheduled working time. Also, an employee who seeks voting leave must request it in writing by the end of the day before the election. The employer can designate the time for the voting leave to be taken, and the employee’s pay must not be reduced for this time off from work.
On November 6, 2012, Iowa’s polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Therefore, employees who begin work after 10 a.m. or who end work before 6 p.m. are not entitled to time off to vote. All other employees may be entitled to some amount of paid time off work. How much time off must be provided for voting leave depends on the particular facts of the employee’s schedule. A regular 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. employee would not be entitled to voting leave.
Voting is more convenient in Iowa due to options for absentee ballots and early in-person voting (a/k/a satellite absentee voting). These options may reduce the number of employees requesting time off from work on election days. Nonetheless, employers are reminded to permit voting leave despite the availability of early voting options.