NWT Elections: Time Off to Vote28-Sep-11
How much time off must an employer give an employee to vote in a territorial election? The Elections and Plebiscites Act requires that an employee be allowed three consecutive hours to vote on election day.
Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mountain Time. Therefore, if an employee’s hours of work begin no earlier than 12 p.m. or end no later than 5 p.m., the employer will not be required to grant time off to vote. This is because the employee already has three consecutive hours, before or after work, to do so.
However, where an employee does not have three consecutive hours, before or after work, to vote, the employer must grant time off at its convenience. For example, if an employee’s hours of work are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., then the employer must allow the employee to leave work by 5 p.m. Or, if more convenient for the employer, allow the employee to come in at 12 p.m. If neither of those options are suitable, then the employer must allow the employee to leave work for three consecutive hours between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Employers are obligated to give employees the required time off to vote without imposing a penalty, such as a deduction in wages.