A Quotable Timeline: 6 leaders on why they’re giving employees Election Day off

In this loudly divisive election year, both parties agree that the vote you cast on Nov. 3 may be the most important one in your lifetime. And thanks to the pandemic, it also will likely be the most stressful if you have to vote in person at the polls. 

To help voters handle the stresses of how, when and where to vote in the presidential election, hundreds of American companies – from huge tech firms to small restaurants – are making Election Day a company holiday–and CultureIQ has joined them. The day off not only eliminates worry over what may be a long voting process, it also gives employees a chance to volunteer to help in-person voting run smoothly. 

Providing Election Day off for employees also may yield a culture benefit. Acording to a 2018 survey from O.C. Tanner, employees who are allowed time off to vote show significantly more support for their firms’ values,  feel prouder of the companies they work for and are more likely to recommend their companies as good places to work than those who are not given the flexibility to vote.

And companies that promote voter participation also may be benefiting their own bottom lines, a 2019 Harvard Kennedy School study showed. “Based on our analysis of these companies, which vary in terms of sector, size, reach, and resources, we have determined that corporate programs promoting civic participation are not only good for democracy, but also good for business,” the authors said. “The business benefits cited by case study participants included meeting consumer expectations, raising brand awareness, and increasing employee satisfaction.”

The reasons and the actions to make Election Day a holiday have roots going back decades. Take a look at this timeline for a brief history, and some leader insights, on why giving Election Day off is important to them:

United Auto Workers

1999

It’s not a holiday; it’s a day to show
you’re a good American citizen.”

–Then-UAW President Stephen Yokich, on a new contract provision making Election Day a day off for union members

GOOD

October 11, 2012 

When you get to thinking about it, holding an election
in the middle of the work week doesn’t make any sense. How can our
democracy thrive when voting, perhaps our most broad-reaching civic duty, must be squeezed into what odd hours we can find for it?”

–Casey Caplowe, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of GOOD, a Los Angeles-based media firm, on his company’s “Take Back Tuesday” initiative.

Patagonia

October 28, 2016

As a business, we have a unique ability to take a stand
and choose to prioritize the health of the planet over profit,
and I think it’s important we take that opportunity when it truly matters”

–Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO, announcing the sportswear maker would close for Election Day 

BFO

Jan 7, 2019

Our employees loved it, as it let them get involved
with the election — beyond simply voting — if they wanted to.
Some of our clients and vendors joined us by closing. Ultimately, regardless of what anyone chose to do, we’ve only seen a positive impact on return on investment (ROI).”

–Dan Golden, Founder and Co-President, BFO digital marketing firm, describing the positive business impact of his firm’s Election Day holiday in Forbes

Twitter 

June 23, 2020

For years, we have encouraged our workforce to take time
to vote and give back to their community through
days of service. We believe this expanded policy will reinforce a community and culture of civic participation at Twitter.”

Bridget Coyne, Twitter Public Policy Director, in a Daily Beast interview

Coca-Cola

Aug. 17, 2020

HEY BIG BUSINESSES, who’s gonna step up and make
Election Day a day off instead of a classist farce?
 WHO’S IN??” 

We’re in, Sarah. We are giving our employees Election Day off
in the U.S. this year and partnering with
 https://maketimetovote.org to encourage employees to vote.” 

–Comedian Sarah Silverman’s challenge on Aug. 16, and Coca-Cola’s response the next day, both on Twitter

Election Day Employee Rights

Even if your organization is not considering Election Day as a holiday option, you should be aware that many states’ Election Day employer rules require time off to vote. And there are plenty of other ways to promote civic engagement in your workplace. If your organization is interested in supporting and joining efforts to make Election Day easier, head to Election.org for a guide on how to get started