Jury duty is a mandatory obligation we all are faced with from time to time. We can’t plan ahead for this service. As an employer, it’s important to know your responsibilities when one of your employees notifies you that they have been summoned for jury duty. This is particularly important if you employ workers in multiple states, as the rules vary by state. This article provides an outline of the information you need to know.
What It Means for Employed Workers
An employee who has been called for jury duty is either picked to serve on a jury or dismissed. If dismissed reasonably early in the day, an employer can expect the employee to come to work for the remainder of the day. On the other hand, the employee can be selected to serve on a jury that goes on for months, and may even be sequestered. An employer’s jury duty policy needs to take all these factors into consideration.
Jury Duty Leave
Jury duty leave provides a paid or unpaid absence from work when an employee is required to report for jury duty. Jury duty availability is mandated by law. Thus, employers in every state are required by law to provide an employee with time off from work in order to perform their civic duty.
If the summons to jury duty occurs at a time of the year when the employer would experience a significant impact from the loss of that employee, the employer may write a letter to the court. The court will consider the employer and employee’s request for postponed jury duty on a case by case basis.
Many prospective jurors cite a loss of pay as a legitimate reason for not serving on a jury, yet juries play an important and crucial role in our country’s democratic process. Without them, our legal system would grind to a halt. This push-and-pull requires both employer and employee to make sacrifices when an employee is called for jury duty. 1
Jury Duty Leave and Federal Law
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, including during jury duty. 2 This type of benefit is generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s representative). The matter of payment to the employee while serving on jury duty has been reserved for states to address.
Employee Pay on a State by State Basis
Because the laws vary from state to state, when developing or revising your company jury duty policy, check with your state Department of Labor to ascertain the laws that govern jury duty in your state. 3
Most states have laws prohibiting employers from discharging or otherwise penalizing employees for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury. The majority of states leave an employer’s jury duty policy up to the employer. But some states specify what the employer must pay an employee, which is usually the same as the jury duty pay, for a certain amount of days at the beginning of the process. After that, for additional days of service, the state court system pays the employee the going rate for jury duty. Other states specify that the employee must be paid his or her regular pay while reporting for jury duty. 4
Nine (9) states and the District of Columbia require an employer to pay employees while serving jury duty:
|Alabama||Yes, for full-time employees. Regular pay.|
|Colorado||Yes, for regularly employed employees. Regular wages up to $50 per day for first three days of jury duty. You can agree to pay more.|
|Connecticut||Yes, for full-time employees. Regular wages for the first five days.|
|District of Columbia||Yes, for full-time employees. Regular wages for the first five days, minus compensation for jury service.|
|Georgia||Yes, for full-time employees. Regular wages, minus compensation for jury service.|
|Louisiana||Yes, for regularly employed employees. Regular wages for one day.|
|Massachusetts||Yes, for regularly employed employees. Regular wages for the first three days.|
|Nebraska||Yes, any employee. Regular wages, minus compensation for jury service.|
|New York||Yes, for employers with more than 10 employees. Must pay the first $40 of wages for the first three days.|
|Tennessee||Yes. Regular wages, minus compensation for jury service. You do not have to pay the employee if they are a temporary employee or have worked for you for less than six months. You also do not have to pay wages if you have less than five employees.|
Fifteen (15) states specifically prohibit employers from requiring employees to take paid vacation, sick, personal, or other types of leave:
States Favor the Employee
Some states favor the employee and do not allow an employer to subtract any jury duty time from an employee’s paycheck. Requirements also vary based on whether an employee works for the state, Federal or local government, or for the private sector. Additionally, Federal law prohibits employers from taking adverse job actions such as employment termination against an employee who is required to report for jury duty. Adverse actions include harassment or threatening or trying to coerce the employee. An employee must be allowed to report back to work following his or her jury duty.
We are compliant with all the state jury duty requirements. ClearPath can help you accomplish your day-to-day tasks pertaining to your workers. We can help relieve this burden by outsourcing your back office Human Resources and Payroll functions to our Employer of Record service. Contact us to learn more about how our expert personalized service can let you get back to focusing on your business goals. Work with a leader in the industry for outsourced Human Resources and Payroll functions associated with W-2 and 1099 contingent workers. Let ClearPath be the path to your peace of mind.
This blog article is for general information purposes only and does not provide an in-depth overview of jury duty laws. It should not be solely relied upon or substituted for legal or professional advice. Employment categories and circumstances, along with detailed provisions of these laws, must be taken into consideration. Use of the information provided is at your own risk.