A Utah voting leave law that employers and employees need to know

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With election day coming up on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, both employers and employees should be aware of a Utah law regarding the right to leave work to vote during an employee's on-duty hours.

Under Utah Code Ann. § 20A-3-103, each employer must allow any employee to take up to two hours off work, between the time the polls open and close, in order to vote. The employer must also not deduct wages or salary because of this absence.

To be eligible for this leave of absence, the employee must apply for the leave before election day and must not have three or more consecutive off-duty hours between the time polls open and close.

This year in Utah, the polls are open from 7:00 to 7:00 so that means if you start work after 10:00 am or get off work before 4:00 pm (or otherwise have three consecutive hours off-duty when the polls are open) you are not eligible for this leave of absence.

Furthermore, although the employer may specify the hours during which the employee may be absent, the employer must allow requests for leave of absence at the beginning or end of the work shift. In other words, if the employee works 9:00-5:00 and requests to get work off to vote from 9:00-11:00 or 3:00-5:00, the employer must allow this.

An employer's failure to grant leave to vote, provided the employee meets all of the mentioned requirements, is a class B misdemeanor.

Whether you are an employer or employee, it is important to know and understand all of your rights under Utah's employment laws. Consulting with a knowledgeable employment lawyer on a regular basis can you help stay on top of the ever-changing employment laws.