More N.O. Employers Giving Time Off to Vote

NEW ORLEANS – This year, some New Orleans businesses and organizations are giving their employees paid time off so they can vote in the Nov. 3 election. Some are even offering extra time off so workers can be politically active in the days leading up to voting day.

Kevin Wilkins, owner of consulting firm trepwise, is one employer who is going all out. He’s giving his crew time off from Friday, Oct. 30 through Thursday, Nov. 5 so they can “do whatever they can to support the election,” he said. 

He’s not alone.

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The nonprofit group Foundation for Louisiana, headed by CEO Flozell Daniels, will be giving staff the day off for Election Day. “Impact management firm” LifeCity founder and CEO Liz Shephard is giving her staff a paid holiday on Nov. 3 and an additional paid half day in October to help support voter education. Lift Louisiana – an organization that supports Louisiana women and families – will give its staff a day off of work on Election Day and the following day so they can “vote, rest and take the time to process the crazy past months.”

Other companies are making voting a group effort. Real estate developer and consultant Green Coast Enterprises, for instance, recently hosted a staff lunch at the Pythian Market Food Hall. Afterward, everybody walked over to the Smoothie King Center to vote early.

Wilkins, founder and managing director of trepwise, said this extraordinary time required extraordinary measures.

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“This is a historic election and I thought it was critical for us to truly live up to our values of service to the community,” he said. “Voting is so core to our democracy that I am closing the firm for four days around the election to give our team members the time and space to support the election process in whatever way they want.”

Flozell Daniels of Foundation for Louisiana agrees.

“We decided to amend our employee handbook to ensure that Election Day is a paid day off in support of our values of freedom, justice, access and dignity,” he said. “Efforts to make this democracy live up to its potential are more important than ever – voting is the least we can do to advance what’s good for all Louisianans.”

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