Many companies won’t have thought about the financial implications to their business if one of their employees is called for jury service. Equally, employees may not realise the financial implications it will have on them. According to the UK Government’s website advice on jury service, it usually lasts up to 10 days but it can be longer and therefore have far reaching implications for employees and small businesses. We answer frequently asked questions on jury service implications for employers & employees.
Jury Service Implications for Employers & Employees
Advice for Employers
Does the company need to allow the employee time off?
Everyone who is eligible to do jury service must accept when called and an employer must allow an employee time off.
Are there exceptions?
Yes there are some exceptions. If an employer thinks an employee’s time off for jury service would have a serious effect on their business then they are allowed to ask the employee to try and delay their jury service.
An employee can only delay jury service once in a 12-month period. Therefore if they were called up again you would have to let them the time off to attend. An employee can delay jury service if they have a holiday booked or they have an operation scheduled.
Of course it is against the law for employers to treat an employee unfavourably for taking time off from work for jury service.
Does the company need to pay the employee?
Employers are not required by law to pay employees but many decide to as it helps keep the employees morale and work satisfaction high.
If an employer decides not to pay the employee they can still claim for food, drink, travel, expenses (such as childcare costs outside of usual arrangements) and loss of earnings.
The allowance for loss of earnings may not match the employees normal wage. For example for the first 10 days that an employee attends jury service for 4 hours or less, the maximum loss of earnings that can be claimed is £32.47 per day, and for over 4 hours a day it is £64.95 per day).
Advice for Employees
When you are summoned you must reply within 7 days. It is also advisable to give a copy of your summons to your employer.
What are the implications if I don’t attend jury service?
You can be fined £1,000 for not turning up once your jury service is confirmed.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, there are a set of exceptions where you don’t have to attend jury service which are listed on your summons and include items such as imprisonment in the last 10 years. However, in reality most people will have to attend.
You or your employer can delay your jury service but this can only happen once in a 12 month period. Therefore, you need to think very carefully about delaying as the next time you are called it could be even more inconvenient for you.
What if my employer treats me unfairly?
If your employer dismisses you for attending jury service you may be able to claim unfair dismissal. However, you may not be able to if you have refused to delay your jury service if requested by your employer.
If you have been refused time off for carrying out jury service then you can complain to an employment tribunal.