Culture

Encouraging our Elasticians to use Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to support voters

The need for volunteer election workers in the United States has never been greater, and Elastic has joined a number of tech companies in encouraging employees to support non-partisan election activities.

In the US, where we are experiencing a whirlwind of activity leading up to the elections on November 3, we are encouraging employees to get involved in whatever way they feel they can meaningfully contribute to their communities — as poll workers, by providing translation and interpretation services, or by supporting new voter registrations and organizing communities to vote. 

This election, like many throughout the world, looks very different than usual. The additional challenges presented by COVID, voting guidelines changing from state to state and county to county, and the likelihood that voting may take longer than expected, all contribute to a greater need for additional election volunteers than ever before. 

At Elastic, we wanted to go beyond just providing employees with the flexibility to take the time they need to vote — we encourage Elasticians to take an active role in the process and in their communities. We offer generous paid volunteer time off — each employee has 40 hours per year — to support the causes that are most important to them. 

Our Founder and CEO, Shay Banon, believes that voting is crucial to creating a diverse and resilient society. It’s a perspective shared across the Elastic leadership team and by many employees who have recently reached out to me and my fellow colleagues in the human resources department asking how they can get more involved.

Voting is a particularly meaningful activity for me personally. In 1992, I took a gap year prior to university, living and studying in Cape Town, South Africa. As a teenager from a small Midwestern town, it was an indelible experience to be in a country in the middle of extraordinary change. To witness the white minority vote in a referendum on ending apartheid is perhaps the most profound historical moment I have experienced as an American. And while that vote was a resounding yes, it took another two years for universal suffrage to happen there. When you have the right to vote, it’s easy to forget that it is a privilege hard-won for so many.

Elastic believes citizens of every country should be given the opportunity to have their voices heard on Election Day, and that supporting our employees’ right to vote is essential to the cause of free and fair elections. We are honored to be even a small part of making that process more accessible to individuals in the communities we call home.

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