by | Oct 30, 2020

With Election Day just around the corner, it is important to understand a Nebraska employee’s right to take leave to vote or serve as an election officer. This election year may prove to be an interesting one for employees who vote in person on Election Day. Long lines and waiting time may impact an employee’s ability to timely arrive or return to work within a scheduled timeframe. An employee may attempt to vote before working hours only to find insufficient time before being scheduled to work, and may call in on election day to seek voting leave.

Nebraska law provides for paid voting leave for registered voters. An employee who does not have two consecutive off-duty hours during the time polls are open, must be granted up to two consecutive hours to cast a ballot, some or all of which may be during working time. An employee who provides notice for leave on or before Election Day must be paid for necessary leave from work (up to two hours) and cannot be subjected to any penalty for taking voting leave. The employer can designate the hours an employee may take off work to vote. See Neb. Rev. Stat. 32-922.

Employers should plan ahead for any challenges the impact long voting lines and waiting time may have on their employees and workplaces. To avoid confusion and lack of workplace coverage on Election Day, employers should strategically plan how to handle potential lateness, absences and/or coverage needs for employees who may be waiting in line to vote. Employers should also consider communicating to employees in advance of Election Day how employees are expected to handle a delay in getting to work (or back to work) due to long voting lines.

It is also important to note that any employee serving as a judge or clerk of election, a precinct or district inspector, a canvassing board member, or any other election worker must be provided paid leave and cannot be penalized for such service if reasonable notice is provided. Reasonable notice is not necessary where someone is needed to fill a vacancy on Election Day. If an employee is required to serve eight hours or more, the employee must also be excused for the eight hours prior to and following the hours of required service. See Neb. Rev. Stat. 32-241. Long lines may also impact the number of hours an employee serves as an election worker and employers should plan for longer leave hours than originally requested.

Baylor Evnen, LLP
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