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Provincial Election: Time Off to Vote

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Labour, Employment and Human Rights Bulletin

A provincial election has been called for May 14, 2013.

The Elections Act, [RSBC 1996] Chapter 106, requires an employer to ensure that an employee has four (4) consecutive hours free from work during the time the polls are open for the purpose of voting. No further arrangements need to be made if normal working hours allow four hours free from work during the time the polls are open.

The employer may choose the specific four hours when the employee is to be free of work to suit its needs.

The polling hours are 8 am to 8 pm.

Employers may not deduct from the wages of the employee or otherwise penalize employees for taking the full four hours to which they are entitled.

Employees are only entitled to the four hours for the purpose of voting. If the employee has already voted (i.e. in the advance poll or is not entitled to vote) then the employee is not entitled to the four hours free from work.

A copy of the relevant provisions of the legislative provisions follows:

Time off from work for general voting

74 (1) An employee who is entitled to vote in an election or who, on registration, will be entitled to vote in the election is entitled to have 4 consecutive hours free from employment during voting hours for general voting.

(2) If an individual's hours of employment do not allow for the consecutive hours referred to in subsection (1), the individual's employer must allow the individual time off from employment to provide those hours.

(3) The employer may set time off required by subsection (2) as best suits the convenience of the employer.

(4) An employer must not

(a) without reasonable justification, fail to grant to an employee sufficient time off as required by subsection (2), or

(b) make a deduction in pay for the time off or exact any penalty from the employee for the time off.

(5) The following are not entitled to time off under this section:

(a) election officials and individuals employed or retained by the chief electoral officer or a district electoral officer to work on general voting day;

(b) individuals who, by reason of employment, are in such remote locations that they would be unable to reasonably reach any voting place during voting hours.

75 (3) The voting hours for general voting are from 8 am to 8 pm. Pacific Standard time or Pacific Daylight time, as applicable, on general voting day.

For more information on this topic, visit the Elections BC website or contact a member of our Labour, Employment & Human Rights Group.

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