by Richard Nash, Vice President, Government Relations
Today people across the U.S. are casting their ballots in the mid-term elections, offering a chance for all citizens to play a role in shaping the country. PayPal has long believed that voting is not just a fundamental right that’s essential to our democracy, but that it’s one of the best ways for every citizen to ensure that their voice is heard. It’s only through participation in the democratic process that we can help impact the issues and policies that affect us, our families and our communities.
Time to Vote
In 2018, PayPal helped to co-found Time to Vote, a business-led nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in the U.S. elections. Time to Vote was founded with the understanding that one of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they are too busy with the demands of life and work. While not prescriptive, Time to Vote members pledge to support their employees by providing them time to exercise their right to vote, whether that's through paid time off, no meetings on Election Day, closing their operations on Election Day or other through other ways that ensure that their employees aren’t forced to choose between their paycheck and casting their vote.
The mission of Time to Vote has continued to resonate with companies across the country, with the coalition achieving a new milestone by welcoming our 2,000th member. By joining Time to Vote and pledging to support their employees’ rights to vote, this movement has impacted more than 10 million U.S. workers to help ensure their voice is heard.
In 2020, we created PayPal Votes, our nonpartisan civic engagement program that provides all U.S. employees with four hours of Election time off to vote and/or to engage in civic volunteering. It also connects employees to nonpartisan civic volunteer efforts that empower them to be active participants and reinvest in our democracy.
This year, we expanded the program to enable all full-time and part-time U.S. employees to use their four hours of Election Time Off ahead of Election Day, beginning as early as October 1st (subject to local election laws). This update to our guidelines provides greater flexibility for PayPal employees to cast their vote when and where it works best for them, including during the early voting period in their state.
Furthering Civic Engagement
While our employees are engaged in their local communities year-round, elections provide additional opportunities to get involved and support civic engagement. To ensure our employees have the flexibility to support elections in their local communities, we updated our paid Community Impact Time Off guidelines to allow for this time to be used for nonpartisan civic volunteer activities, such as volunteering as a poll worker or taking part in a VoterRiders texting campaigns that aim to remind people to register to vote and what IDs are acceptable in their state of residence. And in San Jose, CA and in La Vista, NE, we are hosting polling places on our campuses to make it easier for members of the local community and our employees to vote or volunteer as poll workers.
Outside of election season, we engage with local organizations where our employees live and work to foster greater civic engagement. Earlier this year, we partnered with the Institute of Citizens and Scholars to launch a program that awards young people with grants to use for projects that aim to improve their communities. Throughout the year, we work with non-partisan, non-profit organizations like Civic Alliance, National Voter Registration Day, Vote Early Day and others to identify new ways to support the safe and secure administration of elections and empower our employees to take part in the democratic process.
I look forward to hearing how my PayPal colleagues supported civic engagement in their local communities and how we can continue to harness this enthusiasm and energy for positive change well after Election Day.