Reminders for voting in Minnesota
With Election Day nearly upon us, there are many rules to remember. No, not only for voters ourselves, but also in terms of employees and employers.
Here are some critical details for employers to pay attention to this election season:
- Employers should encourage all employees to exercise their right as citizens to vote.
- Employers may not tell employees how to vote or who to vote for.
- Employers may not inquire or poll employees on who they intend to vote for.
- You may prohibit all political campaign slogans, buttons, stickers, etc., in the workplace, but you have to do it uniformly. Union support buttons are excluded.
- Employees in Minnesota receive paid time off for voting on Election Day. You may encourage them to vote early or late in the day, but employees taking time off from their normal schedule to vote on election day are paid. The former two-hour paid time rule has been replaced with “reasonable time off to vote” under Minnesota Statutes 204C.04 and 204C.08 subd. 1d.
- Employees may only take as much time as they need to vote and go to work.
- Employers may suggest employees to request absentee ballots or vote early at appropriate locations but, aside from election day voting, this is not paid time.
- Employers cannot directly or indirectly refuse, limit or interfere with this right, including what time employees choose to vote.
- Employers may ask employees to tell them when you will be gone and ask that employees coordinate their absences to minimize workplace disruptions.
- An employee who is selected to serve as an election judge pursuant to section 204B.21, subdivision 2 may, after giving an employer at least 20 days' written notice, be absent from a place of work for the purpose of serving as an election judge without penalty. An employer may reduce the salary or wages of an employee serving as an election judge by the amount paid to the election judge by the appointing authority during the time the employee was absent from the place of employment.
- The written request to be absent from work must be accompanied by a certification from the appointing authority stating the hourly compensation to be paid the employee for service as an election judge and the hours during which the employee will serve. An employer may restrict the number of persons to be absent from work for the purpose of serving as an election judge to no more than 20% of the total work force at any single worksite.
With the election mere weeks away, now is a good time for you and your office to familiarize yourself with Minnesota’s voting laws.
Larry Morgan runs the MNCPA HR Hotline and is president of Orion HR Group, LLC. He is a regular contributor to Footnote. You may reach him at email@example.com.
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