Workplace issues

Voting rules for USPS employees

The Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM) provides for postal employees to be excused and paid administrative leave to vote or register to vote in elections when certain conditions are met. The relevant language from the ELM is reproduced below. For guidance or clarification, contact your shop steward, branch officer(s) or the appropriate national business agent’s office.

519.32 Voting or Registering to Vote

519.321 Policy

Employees are encouraged to exercise their voting rights. So far as is practicable without seriously interfering with service, postal employees, excluding casual and temporary employees, who desire to vote or register in any election or in any referendum on a civic matter in their community are excused for a reasonable time for that purpose on a day they are scheduled to work. Casual and temporary workers are encouraged to vote but are not eligible for administrative leave for this purpose.

519.322 Administrative Determination

Postal officials in charge of installations obtain necessary information concerning the hours during which the polls are open in the political subdivisions in which their employees reside. They then make an administrative determination regarding the amount of excused absence necessary (and limits in accordance with 519.323). Employees are notified of this determination and of the procedures to be followed in obtaining advance approval for the absence.

519.323 Voting

The following provisions concern time allowed for voting:

a. Three-Hour Rule. As a general rule, if the polls are not open at least 3 hours either before or after an employee’s scheduled hours of work, the employees may be excused for the length of time that permits them to report for work 3 hours after the polls open or to leave work 3 hours before the polls close, whichever requires the lesser amount of time off.

b. Exception to Three-Hour Rule. Under exceptional circumstances, if the general rule in 519.323a does not permit sufficient time, an employee may be excused for the additional time needed to vote. However, time off must not exceed a full day.

c. Charge to Annual Leave or LWOP. If an employee’s voting place is beyond normal commuting distance and if voting by absentee ballot is not permitted, employees may be granted sufficient time off to be able to make the trip to the voting place to cast their ballots. When more than 1 day is required to make the trip to the voting place, postal officials observe a liberal policy in granting necessary time off for this purpose. Time off in excess of 1 day is charged to annual leave or, if annual leave is exhausted or the employee so requests, it is charged to LWOP.

519.324 Registration

If the employee votes in a jurisdiction that requires registration in person, time off to register is granted on substantially the same basis as for voting, except that no time is granted if registration can be accomplished on a nonworkday and the place of registration is within a (reasonable) 1 day, round trip travel distance of the employee’s place of residence.

519.325 Restrictions

An employee is not allowed administrative leave for voting or registration during a period of absence on sick leave, annual leave, or LWOP pay.