Thursday 24 September, 2020

Employers reminded: Workers allowed time off to vote

As polling day approaches, employers are being reminded that their employees are permitted two hours to head to their respective polling stations to exercise their franchise.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) issued the reminder ahead of the General Election which will be held on August 10.

In accordance with Election Rule 28, employees are permitted two hours during polling hours to vote. This two-hour allowance is in addition to employees’ regular lunch break.

This election rule states: “Every employer shall permit each elector in his employment to be absent from his work on polling day during the hours of the poll for two hours in addition to the normal midday meal hour.”

The provisions for time off for voting as stipulated under the Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01, Section 36:2 ensure that, lawfully, employees’ regular remuneration is not affected by the time off granted for them to cast their ballots.

The provisions state: “Every employer shall on polling day allow every elector in his employ the prescribed period for voting and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during that period.”

The provisions also speak to the liability of employers should they not allow their workers to vote or deduct their pay.

Section 93 states: “An employer who fails to comply with of any of the provisions of Section 36:2 and any person who directly or indirectly by intimidation, undue influence or in any other way interferes with the granting to an elector of the prescribed period for voting referred to in that subsection is liable on summary conviction to a fine of thirty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for 12 months.”

A total of 1.1 million citizens are registered to vote in the August 10 election.

One-hundred and fifty candidates, including independent candidates are offering themselves as candidates.

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