Number of the day: paid time off to vote

1,850+: Number of companies that pledged to give employees at least a few hours off to vote through Time to Vote, a business-led, nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in the U.S. elections. It was launched in 2018 by Patagonia, PayPal and Levi Strauss & Co.

What it means to HR leaders

Time to Vote is just one initiative that’s encouraging companies to give employees paid time off to vote—but the number of employers that have signed on board signal that significant uptick in companies offering time off to vote.

Abbott, Coca-Cola, SurveyMonkey and Walmart are among the companies that signed the pledge.

Many industry insiders say employers are increasingly giving employees an opportunity to vote or get involved in the election this year. Both civil unrest and COVID-19, which is requiring new social distancing and potentially more wait times at the poll, are catalysts for the interest.

Also see: Employers step up to offer Election Day benefits

“We’re seeing more employers give employees paid time off to volunteer to help get people registered to vote, staff polling locations and to vote,” says Cheryl Larson, president and CEO of the Midwest Business Group on Health.

Henry Albrecht, CEO of employee experience software company Limeade, adds that giving employees PTO for Election Day is a way for companies “to show connection to the communities around them,” especially during a polarized year.

“The country is heated,” he says. “Coming together in a positive way as a company to vote moderates that. It’s one, simple thing to do to feel good.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former 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.