Pay for Civic Duties in California
California law requires employers to pay employees for taking time off work to perform civic duties such as voting in a statewide election, serving on a jury, and appearing in court to comply with a subpoena or court order. It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for taking time off for these reasons.
Both public and private employees are given protections under the law to be able to have enough time to vote in a statewide election. If an employee does not have sufficient time outside of normal working hours to participate in a statewide election, employers must allow them up to two hours of time off to go vote and still pay employees for those two hours. This paid voting time must occur either at the beginning or the end of the work shift, unless the employer agrees to allow the employee to go vote during other times in the shift. If the employee knew about the election at least three working days before and knew that they would have to ask for time off to go vote, the employee needed to give their employer at least two working days’ notice in order for the time off to be paid.
Employers must give employees time off to partake in jury duty and allow employees to use any available vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time off to cover lost wages as a result of attending jury duty. Private employers, as well as many public employers, are required to pay employees for their time spent for serving on a jury.
However, if an employee is a part of a collective bargaining agreement that does not allow them to use available time off for jury duty or pay wages for jury service, then the employer is not required to do so.
Public employers are required to pay employees their regular wages for time spent testifying as a witness under subpoena or other type of court order, unless the employee is a party to the case as a plaintiff or defendant, or expert witness. Private employers, however, are not required by law to pay employees for testifying in court, unless the employer is having the employee testify. If the employer is requiring an employee to testify, they must provide the employee with regular wages for the time spent testifying.
If you were not paid for performing civic duties according to these guidelines or if you were retaliated against for performing them, and you would like to take legal action, you can contact our office at (323) 208-9171 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.