Submitted by Andrée LeBlancq, Director, Human Resources
As everyone is aware, the federal election is next Monday, September 20, and under the Canada Elections Act, all eligible voters are guaranteed the right to three consecutive hours on Election Day during voting hours to cast their vote.
When are employers required to provide time off to vote? An employer’s obligations under the act are triggered where an employee’s hours of work prevent them from having three consecutive hours to vote during the voting election window, according to Andrée LeBlancq, SLC’s Director of Human Resources.
“In this case, an employer must allow the time for voting that is necessary to provide those three consecutive hours. This time to vote is usually available to most employees outside of their core regular hours, as the polls are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST on September 20, 2021” Andrée explains.
For example, as most SLC employees work between 8:00 am up to 5:00 pm, there is sufficient time to vote after working hours, as the after working hours provide at least three consecutive hours to vote. “Employees who work evening may have at least three consecutive hours to vote prior to starting their shift, so in this case there is no requirement to provide time off during working hours for the purpose of voting,” Andrée said.
If your schedule prevents you from having at least three consecutive hours to vote, please speak with your manager to determine how to make arrangements to ensure that you do have this time free to vote. The time provided is at the discretion of the employer; however, if any of this time falls within your working schedule, this time shall be paid.Your manager can consult with their Human Resources Consultants on making such arrangements.
“There are likely very few of these situations at the College” Andrée continues, “as most employees work a 7, 7.5 or 8-hour day and typically have at least 3 hours after work to vote.”
Here's an example where time off to vote with pay may apply:
An employee works an 8-hour day, on a split shift basis:
Shift starts at 10:00 a.m.
The first half of the split shift ends at 3:00 p.m.
The second half of the split shift begins at 5:30 p.m.
The second half of the split shift ends at 8:30 p.m.
In the above example, there are no periods of time between 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. that afford the employee three consecutive hours free from work to vote. The manager and the employee will then consider the best option to provide three hours free from work to proceed to voting. In this instance, as one possible option, the employee could be asked to report to work at 6:00 p.m. on voting day for the second half of the split shift, thereby providing the period 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. to vote. The scheduled work time provided to the employee to permit voting, in this case 30 minutes between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., shall paid by the employer.