With the November elections here, employers should take a moment to refresh their understanding on voting leave law in Massachusetts. Specifically, in Massachusetts, an employer must provide an employee up to two hours off after the opening of the polls in the employee’s town or ward to vote if the employee requests it.
Chapter 149, Section 178, provides that: “No owner, superintendent or overseer in any manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile establishment shall employ or permit to be employed therein any person entitled to vote at an election, during the period of two hours after the opening of the polls in the voting precinct, ward or town in which such person is entitled to vote, if he shall make application for leave of absence during such period.”
This is not a paid leave but requires an employer to provide those employed in manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile businesses with a leave for the two-hours after the opening of the polls in the employee’s voting precinct. Again, the employee must request the leave, and the employer may request verification that the employee voted during such period. No employee should be penalized or retaliated against for requesting time off to vote. Further information is provided by the Massachusetts’ Attorney General.