Here’s why Verizon is giving workers PTO to vote

Verizon is giving employees paid time off to vote this November, joining a growing number of companies that are looking at ways to get their employees involved on Election Day.

The telecommunications company will offer up to four hours of paid time off for its U.S.-based workforce on Election Day—important especially because COVID-19 precautions and restrictions will present new challenges to voting this year, says Christy Pambianchi, Verizon’s chief human resources officer.

“COVID-19 has forced us to find new ways to safely carry out routine activities, including how we vote. With thousands of state and local systems figuring out how to administer elections in the middle of the pandemic, fewer polling places open and a focus on safety protocols at the polls, [we saw] longer lines in many recent primary elections,” she says. “As we expect similar, if not more significant delays this November, Verizon believes in doing its part to minimize barriers and help individuals participate in the 2020 November elections.”

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Old Navy, which has more than 50,000 U.S. workers, announced earlier this month that it will give store workers a full day of pay in return for serving as poll workers, regardless of whether they are scheduled to work on Nov. 3. The employer says the unusual move is designed to encourage workers to apply to serve in their communities and give them the means to do so. Additionally, store employees will be offered up to three hours of paid time off on Election Day to vote.

In 2018, Patagonia, PayPal and Levi Strauss & Co. launched Time to Vote, a nonpartisan movement led by CEOs that encourages companies to give employees at least a few hours off to vote. So far, more than 1,000 employers have committed to doing so.

See also: How should HR handle political talk in the new workplace?

“The need has never been greater for businesses to provide their employees dedicated time off to vote,” says Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal. “No American should have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting. Business leaders around the country must step up and do what’s needed to ensure all of their employees will have the opportunity to have their voices heard this November.”

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