How Old Navy is getting workers involved in the election

The retailer plans to pay employees who serve as poll workers on Election Day.
By: | September 9, 2020 • 2 min read

Old Navy says it will pay workers who serve as poll workers on Election Day in November.

The retailer, which has more than 50,000 U.S. workers, announced last week that it will give store workers a full day of pay in return for serving as poll workers, regardless of whether they are scheduled to work on Nov. 3. The employer says the unusual move is designed to encourage workers to apply to serve in their communities and give them the means to do so.

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“Every voice in this country matters and deserves to be heard at the polls, and if we at Old Navy can be even a small part of making that process more accessible to the communities we call home, we are on board,” Nancy Green, the head of Old Navy, said in a statement.

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Gap, the parent company of Old Navy, is partnering with Civic Alliance and Power the Polls on the effort. The groups are trying to find an additional 250,000 poll workers in an attempt to keep polling locations “open and operating efficiently across the country.”

Additionally, store employees will be offered up to three hours of paid time off on Election Day to vote.

Old Navy joins a growing number of employers looking at ways to get their employees involved on Election Day. Because Election Day isn’t a national holiday, employers have increasingly been giving employees time off to vote. In 2018, Patagonia, PayPal and Levi Strauss & Co. launched Time to Vote, a nonpartisan movement led by CEOs that encourages companies to give employees at least a few hours off to vote. So far, more than 700 employers have committed to doing so.

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“The need has never been greater for businesses to provide their employees dedicated time off to vote,” says Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal. “No American should have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting. Business leaders around the country must step up and do what’s needed to ensure all of their employees will have the opportunity to have their voices heard this November.”

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.