- Blue Apron will close all of its offices and fulfillment centers on Election Day and give employees a paid day off, a company spokesperson confirmed to HR Dive in an email.
- According to a statement from Linda Kozlowski, the company's CEO, Blue Apron will also establish on-site and electronic voter registration; support employees' efforts to participate in early voting and absentee voting; and subsidize transportation to and from polls.
- "We believe all of our employees should have the full opportunity to use their voice without having to make a choice between getting a paycheck and casting a vote," Kozlowski said. "These efforts are designed to do our part to remove barriers to voting and to ensure our employees have every opportunity to make their voices heard."
Election Day isn't a federal holiday in the U.S. but a number of states guarantee workers some form of unpaid or paid time off to vote. In California, for example, voters may take up to two paid hours off to vote at the beginning or end of a regular working shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the shift.
But the issue of voting has been heavily discussed in national media outlets in recent weeks. A combination of long lines, voting machine issues and a shortage of ballots during Georgia's 2020 primary elections caused local authorities to launch an investigation, NBC News reported. The COVID-19 pandemic also has created public health concerns about polling places in an election year, prompting state governments to alter Election Day logistics and increase access to alternatives like absentee or mail-in ballots in some cases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
There are also inequality concerns: Recent polling place closures have particularly affected black communities, Governing reported in 2018. This conversation has been renewed during protests against systemic racism this year, The New York Times noted earlier this month, and paid time off for voting is viewed by some advocates as an important step toward ensuring racial justice.
These issues have spurred some responses from the private sector. Several restaurant chains, including &Pizza and Milk Bar, announced in recent weeks that they would either close or offer paid time off for employees on Election Day, HR Dive sister site Restaurant Dive reported. In February, hundreds of U.S. businesses including Target, Best Buy, Walmart and Kroger launched "Time to Vote," an initiative whose members pledge to offer benefits including paid time off on Election Day and resources to support mail-in ballot use. In 2018, companies including Lyft and Dropbox joined a Vote.org project to give employees time off to vote.
Aside from the civic value of promoting time off to vote, employers might see other benefits from participating in such initiatives. A 2018 survey by software provider O.C. Tanner found that 72% of employee respondents in so-called "voting-friendly" workplaces said their job offered them the ability to balance their work and personal lives, and 65% said they would recommend their organization as a good place to work. Offering time off to vote might also advance an organization's broader corporate social responsibility goals.