Birds Barbershop Offers “Time to Vote” Benefit
“Nobody should have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting,” says ISBN member Jayson Rapaport, co-owner of the Texas-based Birds Barbershop. That’s the driving force behind a recent decision for Birds to get involved with the nonpartisan Time to Vote movement and offer a new employee benefit. On Election Day, November 3, 2020, all Birds locations in Austin and Houston will close three hours early.
“We will pay every single employee for that time,” Rapaport says. “We spent a lot of time thinking about how Birds could make a difference (no matter how small) during this challenging year, and this seemed like a great way to do it.”
Rapaport says the response from staff to the initiative has been very positive. Birds is also building civic engagement, awareness and goodwilll on the client side. On National Voter Registration Day, Birds did a social media activation that offered a discount code to guests who would direct message a note affirming their status.
More than 700 companies have joined Time to Vote a business-led, nonpartisan coalition that aims to increase voter participation in the U.S. elections. According to the group’s website, voter turnout in the U.S. is one of the lowest in the developed world and one of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they are too busy with the demands of life and work. The requirements to join are simple and flexible. The CEO or company leadership pledges to ensure employees have the time they need to cast their ballots. There is no one approach, organizers agrees, recognizing that different employers have their own restrictions and guidelines. For more information, visit maketimetovote.org. Also visit birdsbarbershop.com and follow @birdsbarbershop.