Is There a Right to Time off to Vote?
31 May 2017
Recent General Elections have seen a turnout of around 60-65%, with predictions for this election being in the low sixties. On that basis, a fair approximation would be that around six in ten of your staff will be voting. Should one of these voters demand time off to exercise their democratic rights, do you have to permit this?
The answer is ‘no’. Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm, so it is highly unlikely your workers will be unable to attend at some point during the day. Even if this is not possible, options such as postal voting or voting by proxy mean that an employee is on shaky ground if they attempt to claim that you are depriving them of their rights simply by asking them to do their job.
Of course, if an employee does raise a concern of this nature, there is nothing to stop you coming to an agreement with them that will allow them to visit the polling station. This may be by way of a later start or it could simply be unpaid time off while they pop out. As long as you are consistent here there should be no issues - i.e. you don’t allow one employee time off to vote, but block another employee whose politics you disagree with. Also, employers should be wary of imposing last minute overtime on staff who might otherwise have planned to vote at the end of their shift.
Whilst on the topic of elections it should be stated that, where trade union elections are concerned, shop stewards and staff representatives have a right to reasonable time off for union duties and activities. Any such time off may be unpaid.
At Alpha, we have a vast experience in providing bespoke, practical advice on HR and employment law issues. This includes providing tailored advice on how to deal with difficult or unusual situations. We are proud of our commercial outlook and do not sit on the fence. If you would like to have Alpha on your side, please feel free to contact us.
Martin Kaye have provided advice in some highly complex HR matters and they continue to provide our day to day HR advice through their "ALPHA" HR scheme. They offer a very commercial and pragmatic approach and we have always been impressed by the level of service. The members of staff are approachable and easy to deal with.
Eurofilms Extrusion Ltd
Martin Kaye have provided us with employment and HR advice for several years and we have been very pleased with the level of service and quality of advice provided. We have no hesitation in recommending the team to any organisation which wishes to manage its employment related enquiries.
D Wauchope, Company Secretary
McPhillips (Wellington) Ltd
As a large employer of cleaning personnel, we require expert and prompt employment related advice. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" service provides this in a clear and robust manner. We have been extremely impressed with the service and would thoroughly recommend them to any employer requiring expert HR & employment support.
J Conry, Chairman
It is important for us to create a close relationship with our advisors. Martin Kaye's "ALPHA" HR service is excellent. It enables us to work closely with our lawyers particularly in the complex area of employment law.
Johnny Hobeika, Operations Manager
Sanita (UK) Ltd
ALPHA is an excellent, reliable, professional service which is an integrated part of our business that we could not do without. This service is part of our structure and provides staff and business with the professional HR Support it requires - Invaluable
Martin Kaye are rated
out of 5
based on 21 testimonials.