Working on Election day- you can still vote

Of course we are encouraging people to vote early, however if you have to work on Election day the  following provision still applies. 

The 2017 Election Day is Saturday September 23. You need to be enrolled by Friday 22 September to vote in the general election. On election day, Saturday 23 September, all voting places will be open from 9.00am until 7.00pm.

Section 162 of the Electoral Act 1993 sets out the responsibilities of employers in respect of allowing any employees, working on Election Day, time off to vote. The amount of time off will depend on the circumstances.

Under s162, an employer is required to allow an employee time off to vote on polling day if:

  •  the employee is eligible to vote, and
  •  the employee has not had a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work.

The rules differ depending on whether the work is “essential work or services”.

If an employee is not required to work after 3pm on the polling day for essential work or service, their employer must allow them to leave work by 3pm, for the remainder of the day. The employer cannot deduct wages or salary from an employee for this time off work.

If an employee is required to work after 3pm on the polling day for essential work or services, their employer must allow them to leave work for a reasonable time to vote. The employer cannot deduct wages or salary from an employee for time, not exceeding 2 hours, which the employee spent off work.

Masters of ships must allow eligible voters on the crew to go ashore to vote.

The section is copied below for your reference.

 162 Employees to have time off to vote

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, on the polling day at any election every employer shall allow every worker in his or her employment who is an elector of any electoral district in which the election is being held, and who has not had a reasonable opportunity of voting before commencing work, to leave his or her work for the purpose of voting not later than 3 o’clock in the afternoon for the remainder of the day, and it shall not be lawful for any employer to make any deduction from any remuneration payable to any such worker in respect of any time after the time of his or her leaving his or her work as aforesaid.

(2) Where any such worker is required to work after 3 o’clock in the afternoon of polling day for the purpose of carrying on any essential work or service, his or her employer shall on that day allow the worker to leave his or her work for a reasonable time for the purpose of voting, and it shall not be lawful for the employer to make any deduction from any remuneration payable to the worker in respect of any time, not exceeding 2 hours, occupied in voting as aforesaid.

(3) Every person commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who contravenes subsection (1) or subsection (2).

(4) Every master of a ship that happens to be in any port in New Zealand at the time of any general election or by-election in any district, at the request of any of the crew being registered or qualified to be registered as electors of that district, shall allow them to go ashore at a proper time to admit of their voting at the election; and every master who without reasonable cause commits any breach of this subsection shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.

(5) For the purposes of this section,—

employer has the same meaning as in section 5 of the Employment Relations Act 2000

master, in relation to any ship, includes any person (except a pilot) having command or charge of the ship worker has the same meaning as that given to employee in section 6 of the Employment Relations Act 2000.

(6) This section shall bind the Crown.

Jem Yoshioka