A guide to jury duty and pay for employees

A guide to jury duty and pay for employees

26 September 2023

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If you are on the UK electoral register and you’re aged 18-75, then statistics from CPD Online College suggest that there is around a 40% chance of you being called for jury service. In 2019, approximately 347,000 summons were randomly issued for jurors to serve at court for what is typically a 10 working day period. If you’re an employer and one of your employees are summoned for jury service, you might be wondering what that means for your business. In this blog, we provide you with a guide to jury duty and pay for employees to give you a better understanding should you find yourself in this situation.

Do I have to release my employee to take part in jury service?

The short answer is yes. As an employer, if you unreasonably refuse to allow one of your employees to take part in jury service, then you could be held in contempt of court. You can apply in writing to the court for an employee to be excused from jury service if their absence would cause significant operational difficulties for your business. If your request to defer jury service is accepted, then this is usually a one off and no further requests for the same employee to be excused will be granted.

What happens to an employee’s pay during jury service?

Having a clear policy on jury duty and pay is important as it allows for a fair and consistent approach to be applied. As an employer, you are not obliged to pay an employee who is on jury service unless you have a contractual term that states otherwise. As a gesture of goodwill, many employers will carry on paying their employees in full during jury service.

If that is the case, and it happens multiple times with different employees, then you are likely to be establishing customs and practices. If you are not paying an employee who is on jury service, then the employee can claim for loss of earnings via the court. They need to complete a loss of earnings form and as their employer, you will typically need to provide some details for the form as well.

Currently, employees can claim up to £64.95 per day for loss of earnings, plus £5.71 per day towards the cost of food and drink. In addition to this, they can also claim back the cost of travelling to and from court. Many workers will earn more than £64.95 per day, so in some cases, employers will top up the difference between the loss of earnings amount and the employee’s normal daily earnings so that the employee does not suffer a financial loss.

What about time off?

Most jurors serve for 10 working days, however depending on the complexity of a case, that timeframe could be longer and employers should be prepared for that. Whilst the employee on jury service can’t discuss the case they are hearing, they should let their employer know if they are going to be absent from work for longer than expected.

On some occasions, jurors are dismissed early as a trial finishes sooner than expected and in such circumstances, the employee can return to work. Likewise, if a juror attends court and is told that for some reason they are not required on that day or if the court finishes at lunchtime, again the employee should return to work unless otherwise agreed with their employer.

What else do I need to know about jury duty and pay?

As an employer, you must not discriminate against employees who are attending or have attended jury service. For example, you cannot use their absence for jury service towards any absence triggers, you can’t dismiss someone because they have been on jury service, and you must not pass them over for promotion or similar because of their jury service.

Depending on the case that the employee has been a juror on, they may also need additional support when they return to work. If the nature of the case has been particularly traumatic, this could have an impact on the employee’s mental health. If possible, offer them counselling or any other well-being support that is available in your workplace. It’s also worth having regular informal chats just to check in with them, and if they have been on jury service for an extended period, then ease them back into work so that they feel settled and comfortable.

Speak to us for more advice

Having a policy that covers jury duty and pay is the best approach for employers to take so that an employee’s rights and responsibilities are clearly set out, and so in the event of an employee being called for jury service, the appropriate steps can be taken.

If you’d like any more advice about jury duty and pay, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts who will be able to answer any questions you have. If you already have a policy in place for jury duty and pay, why not store it in our HR software so your employees can access it any time they choose? Sign up for our FREE 30-day trial to learn more!

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