What Employers Need to Know about Time off Work for Employees on Election Day

By September 14, 2021Employees, Employers
Did you know that Canadian citizens 18 years+ who are registered to vote — are entitled to 3 consecutive hours to vote between when the polls open and close?
If an employee’s work schedule does not otherwise allow for this, an employer must grant them time off to vote. Meaning, come Monday, September 20th, election day in Canada, employers can decide when to allow their employees time off to vote.
If the polls are open 8am – 8pm, and an employee’s shift is from 10am – 6pm, that employee’s work schedule would not allow for three consecutive hours off for voting. The employer would have to :

a) provide one hour off at the beginning of the employee’s schedule, allowing them to start work at 11am;

b) provide one hour off at the end of the employee’s schedule, allowing them to leave work at 5pm; or

c) provide three consecutive hours off within the employee’s regular work hours

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All employers, with the exception of those in the transportation sector, are required by law to give time off work to vote.

 

It is an offence for employers to penalize or deduct pay from employees for taking time off to vote, or to fail to provide an employee with time off to vote as required under the Canada Elections Act. An employee must be paid what they would have earned during the time allowed off for voting.

 

Any violations, including “by intimidation, undue influence or by any other means, interfere with the granting to an elector in their employ of the three consecutive hours for voting”  are punishable by a fine or imprisonment, or both.

Jess Watt

Author Jess Watt

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