Election Day Should Be a Holiday
To give citizens an optimal window of opportunity to vote, businesses should make Election Day, Nov. 4, a paid holiday for all employees. Pro or con?
Pro: Provide a Patriotic Benefit
I love my country. And I’m grateful to raise my son and run my firm in the U.S.
Small businesses like mine, with fewer than 15 employees, typically can’t afford many paid vacation days. Every day that someone’s out, we feel it. But I’m giving everyone a paid day off for Election Day this year.
Why election Day is on a Tuesday and not part of a three-day weekend like President’s Day beats me. But until it’s a paid federal holiday, I consider it my civic duty to make it a full-day paid holiday for everyone at my 22-year-old company. I hope other small businesses will join us.
Why? To me, voting is a patriotic rite. It’s the right all others flow from. But it’s hard to find time to do it right.
I want our operations manager to have the time to vote her conscience even if it’s raining on Nov. 4 and there’s a long line. She lives a long bus ride from our office, her husband works too and often takes their daughter to school. She loyally came to work in a walking cast for weeks last year. And I want her to have the time to volunteer to drive seniors to the polls, which she plans to do this year.
Let’s remind the people we send to Washington that some of America’s real patriots—small-business owners—do more than create the jobs that fuel our economy. Our creativity and patriotism strengthen our democracy, too.
Con: Let’s Be Reasonable
Voting is extremely important, which is why I do it and encourage my employees to as well. In fact, I’ve already voted in the Presidential election with a mail-in ballot. But, for several reasons, all kinds of small businesses, from my medical practice to our hometown hair salon, cannot afford to close for Election Day.
1. It’s not necessary to spend the entire day voting. Polls are open before and after work and during lunch hours. And if the polling place is too far from the office, absentee mail-in ballots make an easy (and fast) solution.
2. My employees have a certain amount of paid time off. Mandating another holiday decreases the number of days they can freely choose to take as a personal or vacation day. Employees who want to take Election Day off are free to do so, but why make everyone use a day that isn’t the most convenient for him or her?
3. If we opened the door to days off for voting, where would we draw the line? National elections, county, city, school board, dog commissioner?
4. We have only 22 days a month to make revenue; taking a day off saps 4% of our monthly bottom line, which we can never gain back. Meanwhile, expenses like rent stay the same or increase.
Simply put, closing the office on Election Day is a luxury small businesses cannot afford.