Jury Service: Employer Obligations

Carol Smith

Carol Smith

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07 Oct 2019

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One of your employees has jury service—now what? Your business will no doubt have many questions about this undertaking.

In this guide, we explore them all and offer a way for your organisation to prepare for this outcome.

 

What is jury service?

It’s a public duty, where an individual sits in on a trial as a juror. It’ll be up to the jury (a group of 12 people chosen at random) to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not.

 

Who is eligible for jury service?

Everyone on the electoral register between the ages of 18 and 70.

 

How long does jury service last?

It depends entirely on the case, but the average is ten working days.

Jury service hours tend to be around the same length as a work day, with an hour for lunch. But again, the timeframe really depends on the case.

 

Jury service and working weekends

If an employee on jury service works weekends, it’s understandable you’d want to know if they can still come in.

Firstly, courts can convene on Saturday to hear testimony—it’s rare, but still possible.

Once the employee is aware they must attend jury duty, they should inform you of the time they need off as soon as possible. So, if they do need to attend court on Saturday, they have to let you know.

Also, employees have a right to not work more than 48 hours per week on average.

It’s helpful to consider jury duty as ‘work’ in this context. And so an employee can attend at weekends if they have a sufficient break.

 

Jury service: employer obligations

So what must you do as an employer? Well firstly, and most importantly, you must allow an employee on jury service time off work. You can’t treat an employee detrimentally for going on jury duty.

You can request the employee delay their service. However, they can only delay once in a 12-month period. And they must let you know when they’ll be available.

Also, when considering jury service, employee pay is an important factor to consider.

You have no legal obligation to pay staff who're on jury service. However, a large number of employers do.

If you choose to pay your employee as normal, work out your tax and NI contributions in the normal way. If you choose not to, they can claim loss of earnings allowance from the court.

 

Jury service: employee obligations

There aren’t many obligations for a member of staff on jury service, other than to inform you as soon as possible.

Your employee should tell you when they’ll need time off and how much (if possible).

Legally, you can’t make an employee redundant where the reason is in relation to their jury duty. Any kind of unfair treatment in relation to an employee’s jury service can end in an employment tribunal.

 

Expert support

If one of your employees has jury duty, or you have any other HR query, speak to a Croner expert today on 0808 145 3380.

About the Author

Carol Smith

Carol joined Croner in 2001 as an Employment Consultant advising a wide range of clients on all aspects of Employment Law and HR practice. She demonstrates particular expertise in complex disciplinary, grievance matters and reorganisation / redundancy.

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Carol Smith

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