A group of Democrats in the US House of Representatives Monday introduced the Time Off to Vote Act, which would require employers to give their workers at least two hours of paid time off to vote in federal elections, either on election day or on a day with early voting.
A poll conducted after the 2020 election indicated that long voting lines and not having time off to vote are two major barriers to voting. Congress unsuccessfully tried to pass major voting rights legislation recently, as President Joe Biden emphasized the need to protect voting rights during his first year in office. This bill is narrower than the previous legislation and aims to prevent workers from needing to lose wages or risk job security in order to vote in federal elections.
In the 2020 election, 28 states required employers to give their employees some time off to vote, and this time off was often unpaid. The Time Off to Vote Act would standardize the laws among states by requiring employers to give employees at least two hours of paid time off to vote. The paid time off would be separate from workers’ existing benefits under the new bill.
“No one should be forced to choose between earning their full paycheck or participating in our democracy,” U.S. Representative Nikema Williams of Georgia stated. “As a working mom, I know how tough it is to carve out time to vote between the demands of work, family, and life.”