Does an employer have to allow an employee time off to vote during an election?
Under s162 of the Electoral Act, an employer is required to allow an employee time off to vote on polling day if:
the employee is registered, or qualified to be registered as an elector of the district in which the election is being held; and
the employee has not had a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work.
The amount of time an employee is allowed off to vote depends on whether the employee is required for essential work or services:
If an employee is not required to work after 3pm on the polling day for essential work or service, their employer must allow them to leave work by 3pm, for the remainder of the day. The employer cannot deduct wages or salary from an employee for this time off work.
If an employee is required to work after 3pm on the polling day for essential work or services, their employer must allow them to leave work for a reasonable time to vote. The employer cannot deduct wages or salary from an employee for time, not exceeding 2 hours, which the employee spent off work.
If an employee is a crew member of a ship in port at the time of an election or by-election, and they are registered or qualified to be registered as an elector of that district, they may make a request to go ashore and vote. If such a request is made, the master of the ship must allow them to go ashore, at a proper time, to vote.
It is an offence if an employer fails to allow an employee time off work in the manner described above, or if they unlawfully deduct wages from an employee who takes time off to vote.
Date Modified: Monday, 28 November 2011
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