You have probably seen enough television commercials, heard enough radio advertisements, and watched enough political debates to know that Tuesday, November 6, 2012 is Election Day. As a responsible employer, you may be wondering whether Massachusetts law requires you to provide employees with time off from work to vote. The answer is: it depends.
Massachusetts General Laws ch. 149, § 178 requires mercantile, manufacturing, and mechanical employers to provide employees time off during the two hours after the polls open. Employees must request the leave in advance, and the employer has discretion regarding whether the time off is paid or unpaid.
Since the polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. in Massachusetts, it is not likely that many employees will request time off for voting. In the event that they do, remember that the statute only applies to mercantile, manufacturing, and mechanical employers. All other employers may give their employees time off to vote, but they are not required to do so. If you have any questions about your duties as an employer on Election Day, please feel free to contact any of the attorneys at Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.