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By: Joyce Mocek
Georgia Laws Regarding Employee Time Off and Leave Get An Update
Effective July 1, 2023, Georgia employees will now be able to take up to 2 hours of unpaid time off to vote in-person in primaries and elections, either on election day or on a designated in-person early voting day. This is a change from prior law that only allowed an employee to take 2 hours off from work on the day of the primary or election. Although the law mandates unpaid time off, the employer can chose to provide paid leave. Employees must also give reasonable notice to their employer about the request for voting leave.
In addition, employees may take the two hours off to vote regardless as to whether they can vote at a time when they are not scheduled for duty. This is also a change from the prior law, under which employers were not required to give an employee voting leave if they started work at least two hours after the polls opened or ended work at least two hours prior to the polls closing-such that the employee could vote when they were not scheduled to work.
In a separate legal development, the Georgia legislature repealed the sunset provision of a leave law (set for July 1, 2023) that provides for the use of up to five days of sick leave to care for immediate family members. As a result, if a private-sector employer offers its employees paid sick leave, the employer will continue to have to allow the employee to use up to five days of paid sick leave to care for an immediate family member (if the employee so chooses). That said, Georgia employers should also consider all potentially applicable protected leave available to the employee (such as FMLA or other types of leave).