At long last, Election Day is almost here. Most everyone agrees this election may be one of the most important in recent history. Voter turnout is approaching record levels. Much of that has come in the form of early voting and voting by mail. But many employees will be taking time to vote on Election Day. Fortunately, Minnesota has not yet seen as many structural problems other states have dealt with. However, it is likely that voting in person may take longer this year than in previous elections.
It is important for employers and employees alike to understand Minnesota’s protections for employees voting on election day.
Employees have the right to take time off work to vote without forfeiting pay, personal time off hours, or vacation time.
Employers are required to pay for employees for time spent voting if that time falls within an employee’s scheduled work time. An employer may not require an employee to use personal time off pay or vacation time. These rules are laid out in Minnesota Statutes Sections 204C.04 and 204C.08, subdivision 1d, which contains Minnesota’s Voter’s Bill of Rights.
An employer may not directly or indirectly refuse, limit, or interfere with an employee’s right to vote, including when an employee chooses to vote.
This protected, paid time off to vote is limited to only as much time as necessary to vote and travel from and back to work.
An employer may require employees to provide prior notice of when they will be voting. Employers may also request employees to coordinate the voting schedules to minimize workflow interruptions.
An employer violating these rights can be charged with a misdemeanor and prosecuted by the county attorney. So, please don’t do it.