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Join Us in Offering Paid Time Off to Vote

by Mary Alice Scott

Election season is here, and it’s time to think about how your nonprofit will engage this year.

While 501(c)(3) charities are strictly prohibited from engaging in partisan politics, nonpartisan does not mean nonparticipation! Charitable nonprofits are excellent messengers for nonpartisan election activation and “Get Out the Vote” campaigns. In fact, according to an Independent Sector poll, 71% of voters “think it is a good idea for nonprofits to offer voter support services, like voter registration and election day transportation.”

handdrawn style graphic with the message Nonprofit Staff Vote and Join us in offering paid time off to voteNonprofit Staff Vote

One of the ways your nonprofit can participate is by encouraging your staff to vote.  This can take many forms, including making voter registration information easily available and reminding people of early voting periods and election day, but one way to take it a step further is to create a formal policy providing time off to vote (ideally paid time). 

Creating a formal policy to give staff paid time off to vote is a great way to:

  • incentivize voting
  • ensure that every staff member who is eligible to vote is given ample time to do so, and
  • create an organizational culture which lifts up civic engagement.

Learn more about the Nonprofit Staff Vote campaign (which includes easy-to-use email templates and graphics!) and commit to giving staff time off vote in elections.

Sample Election Day Policies

You don’t need to start from scratch! We’ve included MANP’s policy below as one sample, and Nonprofit Vote has three sample policies and good advice for crafting your own.

Note: This information is offered as a resource only; it should not be construed as, and is not a substitute for, personal legal advice. As always, we recommend running any new or updated policy by counsel to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

MANP encourages all employees who are eligible to do so to participate fully in the electoral process. All MANP employees may take up to 4 hours paid time off work on Election Day or during the Early Voting period to vote in any primary, general, or run-off election, or to engage in a nonpartisan role as a poll worker. Employees should notify their supervisors of the time they plan to take off at least one day in advance or as soon as practicable.

This time is in addition to an employee’s Paid Time Off (PTO). Employees should note time off for voting or working as a nonpartisan poll worker in the designated line on their time sheet and it will not be deducted from their PTO accrual. Employees may also request to adjust their work schedule on Election Day in order to vote or work as a nonpartisan pollworker. Schedule adjustments should be approved by supervisors in advance.

This time should not be used for any other purpose than casting a ballot or working as a nonpartisan pollworker. Any time spent volunteering for political parties or campaigns should be taken as PTO time and should be requested as outlined in that policy.

Additional Resources

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