California’s Primary Election is March 5

California’s Primary Election is March 5

The 2024 March Primary Election is next Tuesday, March 5 — and early numbers are showing a historically low turnout. Even with the expansion of mail-in voting, California employers still have election-related obligations, including a required poster and allowing time off to vote in certain situations. Plus, CalChamber has helpful guidelines for employers on how to communicate political information to employees.

First, all employers, regardless of size, must display a poster describing voting leave requirements at least 10 days before every statewide election, which is included in CalChamber’s convenient all-in-one California and Federal Employment Notices Poster.

Second, employees who lack sufficient time to vote outside of working hours may legally take up to two hours of paid time to vote in a statewide election. California’s Voter’s Choice Act may make it difficult for employees in participating counties to justify a lack of time — since ballots can be mailed in with prepaid postage and voters can cast a ballot at any voting center within their county (the county where your employee is registered to vote rather than the county where they work determines whether the Voter’s Choice Act applies). Under California law, for an employee to take paid time off to vote in person, the:

  • Employee must notify the employer at least two working days in advance to arrange a voting time; and
  • Time must be taken at the beginning or end of the shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from working, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon.

Finally, business owners can inform employees about the impact of proposed state legislation, regulations and ballot measures — as long as they do it the right way. For instance, employers may not include political information with paychecks, or reward or punish employees (or threaten to do so) for their political activities or beliefs.

CalChamber’s Guidelines for Political Communications to Employees lets employers know what they can and can’t do when communicating with employees. These guidelines also note when employers must report what they spend as contributions or lobbying, and make a clear distinction between internal communications (to employees, stockholders and their families) and communications to external audiences (such as non-stockholder retirees, outside vendors, customers or passersby).

Polls are open March 5, 2024, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., though counties throughout California have opened vote centers where voters may vote early or drop-off vote-by-mail ballots.

Katie Culliton, Editor, CalChamber

CalChamber members can read more about Voting Leave in the HR Library. Not a member? Learn how to power your business with a CalChamber membership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *