Corporate Support for Employee Voting: Companies Can Do Their Part to Ensure Fair Voting Systems to Support a Well-Functioning Democracy and Economy
Trillium’s findings in this white paper give hope companies are moving in the right direction, providing greater avenues for voter access for employees, but there is much work to be done.
Dear U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and Members of Congress,
The 2022 US Midterm election on Tuesday, November 8 will be here before we know it, during which all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be on ballots across the country. 39 state and territorial gubernatorial elections will also be held, in addition to other state and local elections. The outcomes of these elections impact environmental, social, and political realities for years to come. Recent events in American history underscore the need for a highly engaged electorate and fair voting systems to support a well-functioning democracy and economy. Trillium has been engaged in the fight for greater voter access by encouraging companies to make greater civic engagement possible through paid time off to vote.
Continuing the work started in 2019-2020, Trillium’s latest report looks at the progress that companies previously engaged with have made, and includes a new set of companies to evaluate their position and enact greater change. In 2021,Trillium interacted with 38 companies across sectors to assess their paid time off to vote policies and encouraged uptake for companies that lacked them. Positively,57% of the companies that responded offer some form of paid time off to vote, many of which started offering the benefit ahead of the 2020 election.
Companies that exhibited what Trillium believes are “best practices” on this issue have robust policies that provide employees with paid time off to vote. Many also have strong engagement programs that provide employees important information about voting locations and deadlines. Those scoring top marks included Cisco, InterContinential Hotels Group, Proctor & Gamble, and Visa with an A for offering 7+ hours paid time off to vote and Apple, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wabtec with an A- for offering 4-6 hours. An A+, which no company engaged with achieved, would have included the company shutting down for voting.
“A healthy democracy is good for business and serves as the foundation for a stable society,” said Jonas Kron, Chief Advocacy Officer at Trillium. “As we explained to these companies, providing this benefit can lead to more engaged employees who are routinely more productive than those who do not feel engaged.”
Americans agree that voting is important and fundamental to the health of our democracy, but with long lines, logistical hurdles, and the pressing time constraints of work, family, and other responsibilities, the barriers to voting are significant. The timing of Election Day (always a Tuesday) makes matters worse. While dozens of other advanced democracies vote on the weekend or on a national holiday, many Americans must weigh voting against weekday obligations and increasingly inflexible work schedules. These already difficult considerations have been further impacted by the difficulties to everyday life presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the absence of laws or support from an employer, Election Day may force some to choose between their paycheck and their civic duty as an American. And if those barriers weren’t detrimental enough, as of September 2021, 18 states across the U.S. have successfully passed more than 30 bills that restrict voting.
Trillium will continue working towards compelling more and more companies to adopt greater policies for civic engagement for their employees.
No genuine effort to slow or combat climate change can ignore Energy and Power. Trillium seeks to find the companies best-positioned to lead―and benefit from―the ongoing energy transition. Learn more about our approach to investing in Energy and Power.
Advocacy Impact Report - Second Half 2021
Trillium considers it fundamental to our mission and our fiduciary responsibility to engage with the companies that we hold in our portfolios to press for positive change that we believe will help improve ESG policies, performance, or impact. Learn more about our recent engagement activities.