House File 675 - Introduced

                                       HOUSE FILE       
                                       BY  COMMITTEE ON STATE

                                       (SUCCESSOR TO HF 366)

    Passed House,  Date               Passed Senate, Date             
    Vote:  Ayes        Nays           Vote:  Ayes        Nays         

                                      A BILL FOR

  1 An Act providing time off from work to attend presidential
  2    precinct caucuses and making penalties applicable.
  4 TLSB 2373HV 83
  5 ec/nh/8


  1  1    Section 1.  Section 39A.5, subsection 1, paragraph b, Code
  1  2 2009, is amended by adding the following new subparagraph:
  1  3    NEW SUBPARAGRAPH.  (3)  As an employer, denying an employee
  1  4 the privilege conferred by section 43.4A to attend a precinct
  1  5 caucus, or subjecting an employee to a penalty because of the
  1  6 exercise of that privilege.
  1  9    1.  Any person entitled to participate in a precinct caucus
  1 10 held as part of the presidential nominating process in this
  1 11 state who is required to be present at work for an employer
  1 12 during the four=hour period starting one hour prior to the
  1 13 time the precinct caucus starts is entitled to take unpaid
  1 14 leave for as much of that four=hour period as is necessary to
  1 15 participate in the precinct caucus except as provided by this
  1 16 section.  Application by any employee for such absence shall
  1 17 be made to the employee's employer individually and in writing
  1 18 at least fourteen days prior to the time the precinct caucus
  1 19 is scheduled to start.  The employer shall not impose any
  1 20 penalty nor shall any deduction be made from the person's
  1 21 regular salary or wages for participating in a precinct caucus
  1 22 pursuant to this section except for any loss of wages or
  1 23 salary for the hours of unpaid leave actually used to
  1 24 participate.
  1 25    2.  a.  An application for an absence by an employee may be
  1 26 denied by an employer if all the following circumstances
  1 27 exist:
  1 28    (1)  The person is employed in an emergency services
  1 29 position which shall include peace officer, fire fighter,
  1 30 emergency medical personnel, and any other position that
  1 31 seriously affects public health or safety, or is employed by
  1 32 an entity that would experience severe economic or operational
  1 33 disruption due to the person's absence.
  1 34    (2)  The employer provided a written notice to the employee
  1 35 at least seven days prior to the date of the precinct caucus
  2  1 specifying exigent circumstances justifying the denial of such
  2  2 leave for personnel described in subparagraph (1) and
  2  3 declaring the minimum number of such personnel needed during
  2  4 the four=hour period described in subsection 1.
  2  5    b.  If the circumstances in paragraph "a" exist, then the
  2  6 employer may deny the minimum number of employees applying for
  2  7 an absence needed to yield the minimum staffing level as
  2  8 specified in the written notice to the employee.  The
  2  9 selection of which employees applying for an absence shall be
  2 10 denied shall be made without regard to political party
  2 11 affiliation, political belief, or affiliation with or support
  2 12 for any candidate, or for any of the grounds for which
  2 13 employment discrimination is prohibited in this state.
  2 14    3.  An employer may, in lieu of providing unpaid leave to
  2 15 affected employees to attend a presidential precinct caucus,
  2 16 do any of the following:
  2 17    a.  Authorize paid leave to all affected employees.
  2 18    b.  Allow all affected employees the option to work
  2 19 additional compensatory hours, at a time designated by the
  2 20 employer not in conflict with the time needed for caucus
  2 21 participation, equal in number to the number of hours taken to
  2 22 participate in the presidential precinct caucus.  The option
  2 23 of working compensatory hours may be exercised individually by
  2 24 each employee.  Work done during the compensatory hours shall
  2 25 be compensated in the same manner as work during regular
  2 26 hours.
  2 27                           EXPLANATION
  2 28    This bill provides that a person shall be entitled to
  2 29 unpaid time off from work to attend a presidential precinct
  2 30 caucus for up to four hours beginning one hour prior to the
  2 31 start of the precinct caucus.  The bill provides that the
  2 32 employee shall make a written application with their employer
  2 33 for such absence at least 14 days prior to the caucus and the
  2 34 employer shall not impose any penalty nor shall any deduction
  2 35 be made from the person's regular salary or wages except for
  3  1 the period of time of the absence.  The bill provides that the
  3  2 requirement to allow time off does not apply if the person is
  3  3 employed in an emergency services position or by an entity
  3  4 that would experience severe economic disruption due to the
  3  5 person's absence, the employer provides a written notice to
  3  6 the employee specifying the exigent circumstances justifying
  3  7 the denial of such leave and the minimum number of persons
  3  8 needed to protect public health and safety or maintain minimum
  3  9 operational capacity, the number of persons not applying for
  3 10 leave is less than the minimum number specified by the
  3 11 employer, and the denial of leave for those number of persons
  3 12 needed to reach the minimum staffing number specified is done
  3 13 in a nondiscriminatory manner.
  3 14    The bill also permits an employer to provide paid leave for
  3 15 the absence or to allow affected employees the option to work
  3 16 the hours of the absence at such other time so long as either
  3 17 option is made available to all affected employees.
  3 18    The bill provides that an employer who denies an employee
  3 19 the privilege conferred by this bill to attend a presidential
  3 20 precinct caucus commits election misconduct in the fourth
  3 21 degree, a simple misdemeanor.  A simple misdemeanor is
  3 22 punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days or a fine
  3 23 of at least $65 but not more than $625 or by both.
  3 24 LSB 2373HV 83
  3 25 ec/nh/8