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Texas Law Mandates Workers Get Time Off To Vote

Employers must provide two hours leave on request or incur fines.



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Many people choose to vote before or after work. But Houston employers must prepare to make allowances for those asking for time off during the work day to go to the polls. Texas state law requires that employers allow their workers to take off two consecutive hours in order to vote.

“A manager may not be aware of these provisions,” says Mauro Ramirez, an attorney with the Houston office of labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, “ and it may seem easy to the manager, upon receiving such a request, as simply saying, ‘No, I can’t give you time off. You have to go and vote on your own time,’ and it could be easily handled in a manner that may run afoul of the entitlements that Texas employees have with respect to voting leave.”

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Employers that refuse to allow their workers time off to vote may be fined up to $500. Those that retaliate against employees based on how they vote face a fine of up to $10,000, as well as a possible prison sentence of two to 10 years.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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