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Press Release

Thursday, March 24, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

OPM Announces Paid Time Off for Federal Employees to Vote

Federal HR agency issues new guidance providing administrative leave for federal employees to vote in elections and serve as non-partisan poll workers or observers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that federal employees may now receive up to four hours of administrative leave to vote in federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial elections. OPM also announced that federal employees may now use up to four hours of administrative leave per year to serve as non-partisan poll workers or observers. 

“The functioning of our democracy and protecting the right to vote are core American ideals,” said Kiran Ahuja, OPM Director. “Today’s guidance advances fundamental goals of the Biden-Harris Administration: to promote democracy, reduce barriers to voting for federal employees, and further position the federal government as a model employer for other employers to follow. OPM is proud to help lead this effort.” 

In March 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14019 on Promoting Access to Voting. In the order, President Biden directed OPM to explore strategies to expand the Federal Government’s policy of granting employees time off to vote, including through efforts to expand early voting. It also directed OPM to explore ways to support employees who wish to serve as non-partisan poll workers or observers. 

Historically, OPM guidance has provided administrative leave to federal employees on election day only. It also allowed employees to access paid time off in limited circumstances based on employee’s work schedule and the polling hours in their community. New guidance released today recognizes that voting has evolved beyond a single election day and reduces barriers to voting by directing agencies to provide time off for employees to vote at any time the polls are open, either on election day or during an early voting period.  

Additionally, OPM is authorizing agencies to grant up to four hours of administrative leave, which may be combined with other leave or time off, for employees to work as a non-partisan poll worker or election observer. Under the previous policy, issued in 2020, federal agencies were encouraged to authorize excused absences for employees who wanted to serve as non-partisan election officials. OPM’s new policy moves beyond excused absences to allowing a limited amount of paid time off in recognition of the important role non-partisan poll workers play in our democracy. 

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the strategic human capital partner to the federal government that is recruiting, retaining, and honoring the workforce that's landing rovers on Mars, fighting climate change and cancer, and building this country back better. OPM provides leadership and support to agencies through key issues and services-including human resource policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, and retirement services- that impact more than two million people in the federal workforce. As the nation's largest employer, the federal government is the model employer across sectors.

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