time off to vote

Do employers need to give workers time off to vote?

With the 2017 general election fast approaching, many employers are being asked by staff if they can be given time off to cast their votes at the polling station. Although anyone with the right to vote in the UK should be allowed to do so, it raises the question do employers need to give workers time off to vote?

Polling stations up and down the country and readying themselves for the 8th of June where the doors will open at 7am and not close until 10pm. So you’d think that individuals would have plenty of time to visit one of many stations in order to have their say in the upcoming general election.

However, looking back to the 2010 election where we saw outrage as 1,200 voters were turned away at 27 polling stations for failing to cross the threshold before 10pm, this might not be the case.

From a legal perspective, there is currently no legislation in place that says that employers need to give workers time off to vote. It is up to the individual to plan to visit the polling station around their other responsibilities such as work and family.

Bearing in mind that polling stations tend to be at their busiest after 5pm and that many employees work shifts or irregular hours, some flexibility if requested would go a long way to keep employee relations positive should workers request time off to vote.

Many employees have commitments outside of work that may affect their ability to visit the polling station during the set hours, therefore although it isn’t a legal requirement that employers give their staff time off to vote it’s worth remembering that some employees would be unhappy that their employer wasn’t willing to offer some degree of flexibility to allow them to vote.

With the 2017 general election fast approaching, many employers are being asked by staff if they can be given time off to cast their votes at the polling station. Although anyone with the right to vote in the UK should be allowed to do so, it raises the question do employers need to give workers time off to vote?

Polling stations up and down the country and readying themselves for the 8th of June where the doors will open at 7am and not close until 10pm. So you’d think that individuals would have plenty of time to visit one of many stations in order to have their say in the upcoming general election.

However, looking back to the 2010 election where we saw outrage as 1,200 voters were turned away at 27 polling stations for failing to cross the threshold before 10pm, this might not be the case.

From a legal perspective, there is currently no legislation in place that says that employers need to give workers time off to vote. It is up to the individual to plan to visit the polling station around their other responsibilities such as work and family.

Bearing in mind that polling stations tend to be at their busiest after 5pm and that many employees work shifts or irregular hours, some flexibility if requested would go a long way to keep employee relations positive should workers request time off to vote.

Many employees have commitments outside of work that may affect their ability to visit the polling station during the set hours, therefore although it isn’t a legal requirement that employers give their staff time off to vote it’s worth remembering that some employees would be unhappy that their employer wasn’t willing to offer some degree of flexibility to allow them to vote.

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.