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Election Day: Mandatory time off to work the polls?

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Q. An employee who has already used all of his PTO for the year recently requested a day off on Nov. 4, 2008, to serve as an election judge. Do we have to give him the day off?

A. Yes. Minnesota law requires an employer to grant an employee a paid leave of absence to serve as an election judge, and the law prohibits employers from penalizing an employee for his or her absence.

In order to be eligible for this leave, the employee must provide at least 20 days' written notice of the need for leave.

The employee must also provide certification from a county or municipal election official stating the hours the employee will work as an election judge and the compensation he or she will receive for such service. The wages the employer pays to the employee may be reduced by the amount of compensation the employee will be paid for service as an election judge.

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