A growing number of Michigan companies offer time off on Election Day – Detroit Free Press

A growing number of Michigan companies offer time off on Election Day – Detroit Free Press

Many Michigan companies have made a lot of changes this year, from quickly transitioning employees to working from home or implementing new safety protocols at the start of the pandemic, to addressing systemic racism as a part of the country’s racial awakening.

Now, for some, another change is coming. A growing number of businesses are offering time off on Election Day. Companies say they don’t want work to interfere with voting, especially with the anticipated long wait times at polling places.

“We wanted to make sure we gave (our employees) adequate time to be able to cast their vote and not have to choose between having to get paid and or voting,” said Maria Fregosi, chief financial officer of Home Point Financial, a mortgage lender in Ann Arbor. The company is offering its  nearly 3,000 employees a paid half-day on Nov. 3, or a full day if they volunteer. 

A billboard encouraging Detroiters to vote near the Shinola Hotel in downtown Detroit.

Offering time off on Election Day isn’t a new phenomenon. The Big Three automakers — General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — have given Election Day off for at least two decades.

But some unique circumstances this year spurred some companies to offer time off for the first time.

Herman Miller, the West Michigan furniture manufacturer, started talking about how to support employees better since the end of last year, when the company became aware of the potential impact of the coronavirus.