Time Off for Voting

October 06, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you may have seen a petition circulating requesting that Election Day be named as an official Institute holiday. While we are not able to do this, I am pleased to announce that we have amended the Employment Policy Manual (Section 4.15: Time Off for Voting) to provide up to two hours of paid time off for staff members to vote in the upcoming election. This is a change to the prior policy of two hours of unpaid time off. This change in policy applies to elections in which a U.S. president is elected, when lines to vote may be long.

This time may be used this year on Election Day, November 3, and may also be used for early voting. Employees must request the time at least three days in advance; managers will approve requests where possible, but may deny requests when staff members are needed to maintain necessary campus operations. If a request is denied, we urge managers and employees to work together to find an alternative time for the employee to vote.

In Massachusetts, there are multiple options available this year for voting. We encourage all managers and employees to review election updates from Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, as well as voter resources from the State’s Elections Division.

As stated on the Elections Division website:

In all state elections and primaries, polling places must be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., though towns are allowed to open as early as 5:45 a.m. Voters who are in line when polls are closed at 8 p.m. must be allowed to vote.

These hours mean that most of us will be able to vote outside of regular working hours. But for those who may encounter longer wait times, we hope that this change to MIT policy will assist employees in addressing the challenges of voting during the pandemic, as well as in future presidential elections.

Sincerely,

Ramona Allen
Vice President for Human Resources