You could be legally entitled to take time off work to vote today

Apr 17 2019, 12:55 am

It’s election day in Alberta.

As polls are open from 9 am to 8 pm, there are lots of opportunities to get out there and make your voice heard.

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But even if you’re working a long day, you’re still legally allowed to go and vote.

In fact, according to Elections Alberta, employers are legally obligated to allow their employees three consecutive hours to vote.

If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off to do so.

For example, if you live in a riding where voting hours are 9 am to 8 pm and you usually work from 11 am to 7 pm, your hours of work will not allow three consecutive hours for voting. To accommodate this, your employer could allow you to arrive late (at noon), let you leave early (at 5 pm), or give you three consecutive hours off at some point during the workday.

Your employer has the right to decide when the time off will be given.

Employers cannot impose a penalty or deduct pay from an employee who is taking time off to vote according to Alberta’s Election Act. An employee must be paid what he or she would have earned during the time they were voting.

And three hours should be enough time, even if there are long lines at the polls.

Here’s the official wording in Alberta’s Election Act:

Time for voting

132(1) An employee who is an elector qualified to vote shall, while the polls are open on polling day at an election or plebiscite, be allowed 3 consecutive hours for the purpose of casting the employee’s vote.

(2) If the employee’s hours of employment do not allow for the 3 consecutive hours’ absence, the employee’s employer shall allow the employee additional time for voting to provide the 3 consecutive hours, but the additional time for voting shall be granted at the convenience of the employer.

(3) No employer may make any deduction from the pay of an employee or impose on or exact from the employee any penalty by reason of the employee’s absence from employment during the 3 consecutive hours referred to in subsection(1) or additional time granted under subsection (2).

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