Senate File 431 - Introduced SENATE FILE 431 BY QUIRMBACH , T. TAYLOR , LYKAM , WAHLS , CELSI , J. SMITH , BOULTON , JOCHUM , PETERSEN , and BOLKCOM A BILL FOR An Act providing time off from work to attend presidential 1 precinct caucuses, making penalties applicable, and 2 including effective date provisions. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 4 TLSB 2614XS (3) 88 je/rn
S.F. 431 Section 1. Section 39A.5, subsection 1, paragraph b, Code 1 2019, is amended by adding the following new subparagraph: 2 NEW SUBPARAGRAPH . (4) As an employer, denying an employee 3 the privilege conferred by section 43.91A to attend a precinct 4 caucus, or subjecting an employee to a penalty because of the 5 exercise of that privilege. 6 Sec. 2. NEW SECTION . 43.91A Employees entitled to time to 7 participate in presidential precinct caucuses. 8 1. Any person entitled to participate in a precinct caucus 9 held as part of the presidential nominating process in this 10 state who is required to be present at work for an employer 11 during the four-hour period starting one hour prior to the time 12 the precinct caucus starts is entitled to take unpaid leave for 13 as much of that four-hour period as is necessary to participate 14 in the precinct caucus except as provided by this section. 15 Application by any employee for such absence shall be made to 16 the employee’s employer individually and in writing at least 17 two weeks prior to the time the precinct caucus is scheduled to 18 start. The employee shall not be liable for any loss of wages 19 or salary or any other penalty except for the loss of wages or 20 salary for the hours of unpaid leave actually used. 21 2. a. An application by an employee for an absence may be 22 denied by an employer if all the following circumstances exist: 23 (1) The person is employed in an emergency services position 24 which shall include peace officer, fire fighter, emergency 25 medical personnel, and any other position that affects the 26 protection of public health or safety, or is employed by an 27 entity that would experience severe economic or operational 28 disruption due to the person’s absence. 29 (2) The employer filed a written notice with the 30 commissioner at least seven days prior to the date of the 31 precinct caucus specifying exigent circumstances justifying the 32 denial of such leave for personnel described in subparagraph 33 (1) and declaring the minimum number of such personnel, 34 by position, needed to protect public health and safety or 35 -1- LSB 2614XS (3) 88 je/rn 1/ 4
S.F. 431 maintain minimum operational capacity, as applicable. A copy 1 of this written notice shall be provided to employees of the 2 employer. 3 (3) The number of persons employed in a position that did 4 not apply for an absence is less than the minimum number of 5 persons in that position needed by the employer to protect 6 public health and safety or maintain minimum operational 7 capacity, as applicable. 8 b. If the circumstances in paragraph “a” exist as to a 9 particular position of the employer, then the employer may deny 10 the minimum number of employees in that position applying for 11 an absence that is needed to yield the minimum staffing level 12 for that position as specified in the written notice to the 13 commissioner. The selection of which employees applying for 14 an absence shall be denied an absence shall be made without 15 regard to political party affiliation, political belief, or 16 affiliation with or support for any candidate, or for any of 17 the grounds for which employment discrimination is prohibited 18 in this state. 19 3. This section shall not be construed to prohibit an 20 employer from doing any of the following: 21 a. Authorizing paid leave to all affected employees. 22 b. Allowing all affected employees the option to work 23 additional compensatory hours to the extent otherwise permitted 24 by law, at a time designated by the employer not in conflict 25 with the time needed for caucus participation, equal in number 26 to the number of hours taken to participate in the presidential 27 precinct caucus as provided in subsection 1. The option of 28 working compensatory hours may be exercised individually by 29 each employee. Work performed during the compensatory hours 30 shall be compensated in the same manner as work performed 31 during regular hours. 32 Sec. 3. EFFECTIVE UPON ENACTMENT. This Act, being deemed of 33 immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment. 34 EXPLANATION 35 -2- LSB 2614XS (3) 88 je/rn 2/ 4
S.F. 431 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 1 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 2 This bill provides that a person shall be entitled to unpaid 3 time off from work to attend a presidential precinct caucus 4 for up to four hours beginning one hour prior to the start 5 of the precinct caucus. The bill provides that the employee 6 shall make a written application with their employer for such 7 absence two weeks prior to the caucus and the employee is not 8 liable for any penalty nor shall any deduction be made from the 9 person’s regular salary or wages except for the period of time 10 of the absence. 11 The bill provides that the requirement to allow time off 12 does not apply if the person is employed in a position that 13 affects the protection of public health or safety or by an 14 entity that would experience severe economic disruption due 15 to the person’s absence. Such employer must file a written 16 notice with the county commissioner of elections specifying the 17 exigent circumstances justifying the denial of such leave and 18 the minimum number of persons needed, by position, to protect 19 public health and safety or maintain minimum operational 20 capacity, and that the number of persons not applying for leave 21 is less than the minimum number specified by the employer. 22 The denial of leave for those number of persons needed to 23 reach the minimum staffing number specified must be done in a 24 nondiscriminatory manner. 25 The bill also permits an employer, in lieu of providing 26 unpaid leave, to provide paid leave for the absence or to allow 27 affected employees the option to work the hours of the absence 28 at another time to the extent permitted by law so long as 29 either option is made available to all affected employees. 30 The bill provides that an employer who denies an employee 31 the privilege conferred by this bill to attend a presidential 32 precinct caucus commits election misconduct in the fourth 33 degree, a simple misdemeanor. A simple misdemeanor is 34 punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days or a fine of 35 -3- LSB 2614XS (3) 88 je/rn 3/ 4
S.F. 431 at least $65 but not more than $625 or by both. 1 The bill takes effect upon enactment. 2 -4- LSB 2614XS (3) 88 je/rn 4/ 4