For the first time, Nassau County government employees are getting paid to vote.
Citing changes to state election law, Nassau told employees last week they could take as many as three hours of work time at the beginning or end of their shifts “without loss of pay” to vote in Tuesday’s primary.
Employees were required to notify their department heads two working days before the election.
A June 19 memo from county Human Resources Director Kerrin Huber to all Nassau department heads said employees wanting time off to vote had to fill out a “Time Off Request Form.”
According to the form provided by county spokeswoman Chris Geed, employees had to state they were "a registered voter eligible to vote on election day” with the date of the election written in, and they were requesting time off without loss of pay for the purpose of voting. The employees had to specify how much time they would need, but the form notes that it cannot exceed three hours.
Employees had to sign and date the form which also states, “I declare that the foregoing time off is necessary to enable me to vote.”
Geed did not immediately have the number of county employees who requested the paid time off, which is on top of their already accrued vacation and personal time. She said information about the election law change has been posted in the county since April.
Longtime Republican elections lawyer John Ciampoli said the election law was amended as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget this spring.
Ciampoli said the three hours paid time off to vote applies to all employers, public and private. He said the law requires employers to post a notice at least 10 days before the election and the notice must remain posted until the close of polls on election day.
Ciampoli said he did not know how the three-hour paid time off fits in with New York’s early voting initiative, which gives voters as many as 10 days before the election to cast their ballots.