What happens if my employee is called up for jury service?
Anyone on the electoral register aged between 18 and 70 can be called up (and we’re guessing that’s much of your workforce). Jurors get around 10 days’ notice before they’re due in court, so make sure all your staff know to inform you as soon as possible if they get called up, to give you enough time to plan.
Jury service is a public duty, and the law says people can’t opt out and you cannot refuse to allow them to attend. If your employee refuses to do jury service, they could face a £1,000 fine.
If it’s a bad time for your business, you might be able to defer your employee’s jury service and for jury duty exemptions the employer must make a written application to the court explaining how the employee’s absence will seriously damage the business. You should also offer alternative dates (agreed with your employee) in the next 12 months.
Your employee attaches this application to their Reply to Jury Summons form, which they must return within seven days of being summoned.
The court only accepts correspondence directly from the juror (your employee), so you can’t decide to take matters into your own hands. You and your employee need to make the application together.
If your employee’s jury hours clash with their usual working hours, you’re legally required to give them time off work. For example, if they work a 9-5, they won’t have to come into the office while on jury service, which is typically on weekdays.
If your employee’s working hours fall outside the hours of jury service, such as working night shifts, the law is less definitive. But you should always follow these government guidelines:
“Jurors should not be made to work night shifts before they are due in court, or work weekends if this means they do not have a break from either jury duty or their job for seven days.”
It is not a legal requirement to continue to pay staff during jury service. And when you run a small business, you might not be able to afford to pay your staff when they’re not in work.
You can support your employee by filling out a Certificate of Loss of Earnings form. This lets them request a loss of earnings allowance. This is a payment made by the court to jurors while they’re off work, and the amount is usually somewhere between £32 and £64 per day.
A common approach for employers is to help their employee get the allowance and then top it up to their normal salary, but this is totally up to you!!
If you have any concerns about your current policies and their appropriateness to your business contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org we can discuss.