In-Depth: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) introduced this bill to require employers to grant their workers at least two hours of paid leave to vote in federal elections, thereby making voting more accessible to all workers:
“Voting should not be a luxury that only the well-off can afford. This bill helps ensure that all Americans, regardless of their economic status, are able to exercise the right to vote.”
Colette Kessler, director of partnerships for Vote.org, adds that companies are well-positioned to help their employees gain time to work, pointing out, “Being able to take the time to vote is a real barrier for most Americans, and companies are very well-positioned to remove that roadblock for their employees.”
This bill has the support of 20 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats, as well as the endorsements of Common Cause and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - AAJC.
Of Note: Currently, 25 out of 50 states don’t require employers to give their employees paid leave to vote. In 19 states, employers aren’t required to let their employees leave work to vote. This can lead to employees being actively prohibited by their employers from leaving work to vote, and many others choosing not to attend the pools because they can’t afford to lose the one to three hours of wages that they’re forgoing by going to the polls. For an individual working a 40-hour job at a minimum wage, taking two hours off to vote would mean forgoing 5% of their weekly salary — a cost many working-class Americans simply can’t shoulder.
However, despite the law not requiring them to do so, many companies are already giving their employees paid time off to vote. Thanks to Vote.org’s ElectionDay.org initiative encouraging companies to encourage voter participation by giving employees paid time off, about 300 companies, including Etsy, Patagonia, and Levi Strauss, are giving their employees paid time off to vote.
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / hermosawave)