Of the eight Canadian provinces and territories that have passed laws calling for fixed-date elections, five provincial / territorial general elections are to be held in October every four years.
The next provincial election in Newfoundland and Labrador is scheduled for Tuesday, October 11, 2011. Employers have certain obligations to employees under the Newfoundland and Labrador Election Act. Between September 10 and 19, 2011, the Lieutenant-Governor will proclaim the legislative session ended and the election writ issued and signed. The month-long campaign for voters’ hearts and minds will be officially underway. Once that formality is complete, the lawn signs will come out and political parties in Newfoundland and Labrador will kick their campaigns into high gear.
Under the Act, an employee who is eligible to vote must be allowed four consecutive hours for the purpose of casting his or her ballot. Employers whose employees have four consecutive hours of their own time available during polling hours need not offer additional time for voting. If, however, an employee does not have this time available, the employer, upon request, must allow the employee enough time off with pay to provide those four consecutive hours to vote.
This year, voting hours on election day will be from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Labrador time). Employers have the right to decide when during the day is most convenient for granting any necessary time off. It is also important to note that employers are not required to take into account an employee’s travel time to vote.
Employers may not make deductions from an employee’s pay, require the employee to take a vacation day or sick day, or otherwise impose any penalty for the time taken off work by an employee to vote.
An employer is guilty of an offence who refuses, or by intimidation, undue influence or in another way, interferes with the granting to an elector in his or her employ, of the consecutive hours for voting provided in the Act.
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor