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Employees allowed time-off to vote on election day

By Electoral Commission of Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Employees who intend to vote in the upcoming general election are entitled to three hours off from work on election day, September 3. The three hours’ time-off to vote is in addition to the usual lunch hour.

It has come to the attention of the electoral office of Jamaica that several employees have indicated to staff that they will not be allowed the time-off on election day, or will only be allowed two hours.

The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (EOJ) is cautioning employers that employees have the right to time off to vote. The Representation of the People (Leave & Symbols) Regulations, 1944 states that … every employer shall permit each of his employees to be absent from work on polling day for three hours in addition to the normal meal hour.

The law, however, does not apply to persons who commence work at 10:00 a.m. or later or end work at or before 2:00 p.m. Electors are encouraged to make the appropriate arrangements with their employers before election day.

It has also come to the attention of the EOJ that employers have been advising employees who intend to work as election day workers or to cast their vote, that they will be required to quarantine for 14 days after election day.

The EOJ wishes to reassure employers and election day workers that the necessary safety precautions will be taken, including mandatory thermometer checks, wearing of masks, continuous sanitization procedures, physical distancing and the single use of voting pencils by electors. Consequently, an election day worker’s duty on election day does not warrant a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The polling stations will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. However, electors are encouraged to vote throughout the day, rather than just the first two hours of polling when lines are the longest.

Voters are also reminded to bring their current voter ID card on election day. Current voter ID cards are valid until December 2020.

If individuals do not take their ID card with them, they must answer questions, take an oath of identity and be fingerprinted in order to verify their identity.



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