SECTION 1. The eighteenth clause of section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the words “the second Monday in October,” and further amended by adding the following sentence:- “Legal holiday” shall also include Election Day, the first Tuesday in November in even-numbered years; provided, however, that observance of said holiday shall not apply to public employees whose jobs pertain to the operation and administration of elections.
SECTION 2. Chapter 149 of the general laws is hereby amended by striking out section 178 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 178. Paid leave of absence from work for voting.
(a) For purposes of this section, the terms ''employer'' and “employee” shall be defined as in section 1 of chapter 175M.
(b) An employee who is eligible to vote shall be entitled, upon request, to take four hours of paid leave to be used for the purpose of casting a ballot in any annual or special municipal or state primary or election. An employee may elect to take their four hours of paid voting leave at any point during the early voting period provided in section 25B of chapter 54, any applicable mail voting period provided chapter 54, or on the date of a primary or election. Employees eligible to observe Election Day as a holiday, as defined in the eighteenth clause of section 7 of chapter 4, shall not be entitled to take additional paid leave pursuant to this paragraph for biennial general elections.
(c) It shall be unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, the right to take paid voting leave under this section as a negative factor in any employment action such as evaluation, promotion, disciplinary action or termination, or otherwise subjecting an employee to discipline for the use of paid voting leave under this section.
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