With the Ontario Provincial Elections around the corner, some employees may be entitled to paid time off to vote pursuant to the Ontario Elections Act.
The Elections Act states:
Employees to have three consecutive hours for voting
(3) Every employee who is qualified to vote shall, while the polls are open on polling day at an election, have three consecutive hours for the purpose of voting and, if the hours of his or her employment do not allow for three consecutive hours, the employee may request that his or her employer allow such additional time for voting as may be necessary to provide those three consecutive hours and the employer shall grant the request.
Deduction from pay prohibited
(4) No employer shall make any deduction from the pay of any employee or impose upon or exact from the employee any penalty by reason of his or her absence from work during the consecutive hours that the employer is required to allow under subsection (3).
Time off best suiting convenience of employer
(5) Any time off for voting as provided in subsection (3) shall be granted at the time of day that best suits the convenience of the employer.
The 2018 Provincial Election is scheduled for July 7, 2018, and polls are open between 9:00am and 9:00pm. Accordingly, (1) if an employee is working on voting day, (2) does not have three consecutive hours to vote while polls are open, and (3) requests time off to vote, then their employer must provide them with paid time off to vote.
An employer does not have to give paid time off, or time off at all, if their employee is off work for a consecutive 3 hour period during poll open times. That means no paid time off is required for 9:00am to 5:00pm employees because there is more than 3 consecutive hours after work ends for the employee to vote.
Contact Justin W. Anisman
Justin W. Anisman is an Employment Lawyer at the Toronto law firm Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP. Justin advises both companies and individuals in all aspects of employment law including wrongful dismissal, human rights and discrimination.