PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) - A state law that's been on the books for decades in Arizona allows workers paid time off to vote on Election Day, but many employers and workers may not realize it.
John Balitis, a Phoenix attorney who specializes in employment and labor issues, says it's important for employers to be aware of the law.
"The interesting thing about our law is that it doesn’t have any notification requirements or posting requirements, and it comes up so infrequently that many people just don’t know about it," Balitis told 3 On Your Side.
According to state law, workers must have three consecutive hours on Election Day to vote. If workers don't have three hours available on their own time, Arizona employers have to make up the difference without any penalties or loss of income.
"As a practical matter, what that means is there needs to be three hours between when the polls open and when your shift starts, or when your shift ends and the polls close within which for you to vote," Balitis explained. "If there aren’t, then your employer needs to make up that time with paid time off to vote."
Workers have to notify employers at least one day in advance. Employers are able to choose whether they will allow employees to take time off before or after their work shifts.
"There's nothing in the statute that talks about how that has to be communicated, in writing or anything else, so I guess the point is, there isn’t any particular way that you need to let your employer know about this, at least according to the statute. You just need to make sure you do it at least a day in advance," Balitis said.
"Chances are, this law is slightly less relevant in this election cycle than it has been in the past because I think, by and large, fewer people are probably going to go to the polls to vote," he added. "We’ve seen that mail in balloting and early voting by mail dropping ballots off has just surged."
Employers who violate the law could face misdemeanor criminal charges.