Sep 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Businesses give employees paid time off to work polls on Election Day

Illustration of a briefcase with an "I voted" sticker on it

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An overwhelming number of companies this year are giving employees paid time off to work the polls on Election Day.

Why it matters: The push from corporate America comes amid a shortage of poll workers, with many older people who would typically do the job planning to stay home because of COVID-19.

What's going on: Old Navy, Tory Burch and dozens of other companies are paying employees for the time they use to volunteer as poll workers on November 3.

  • Facebook is giving its employees additional paid time off if they volunteer on Election Day, as it works to stamp out election misinformation on its own platform.

Between the lines: A slew of companies this summer said they would go to their greatest lengths yet to ensure employees were incentivized to vote during working hours. These announcements take voting-related initiatives even further.

  • More than 800 corporations have signed onto the "Time to Vote" pledge to allocate time for employees to vote during the workday. Many of those companies have said they would give workers paid time off to vote.
  • Uber said election days around the world would be considered a company holiday, while Best Buy is limiting its store hours.

Driving the news: Power the Polls, an initiative that launched to address the shortage of poll workers, partnered with over 70 companies including Starbucks to connect people who want to work the polls with the counties training the would-be workers.

  • The group signed up 350,000 people to volunteer to work polls, surpassing its initial goal of 250,000, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

The big picture: Major employers are stepping up to fill a void from the government in helping to ensure that the elections will be safe and fair.

  • Some of the largest tech companies, like Snapchat and Facebook, are also leveraging their reach to encourage younger people on social media to consider becoming poll workers or to direct them to polling locations.

The bottom line: Businesses are giving unprecedented leeway for its employees to vote and help during what could be America's most complicated Election Day yet.

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