Your Employee Gets Jury Duty – What Do You Have To Do?

Employers must comply with the legal responsibilities outlined when dealing with an employee summoned for jury duty, or they could face penalties of up to $50,000.

When an employee gets summoned for jury duty, it can stress the workplace as other staff take on extra work.

As an employer, you’ll likely want to avoid the inconvenience of releasing an employee for jury duty; however, this may be difficult.

Can You Refuse To Release An Employee For Jury Duty? 

As an employer, you must release any employee for jury duty if they have been summoned. It is an offence to act prejudicial to an employee if they have been summoned for jury duty, including threatening their employment or wages.

If your business faces significant hardship with an employee at jury service, you may be able to request that the employee be excused. This will require an explanation of jury service’s impact on your business.

A request must be communicated before empanelment (when the jurors have been selected), and making a request does not guarantee that your employee will be excused.

What Are The Employee’s Rights?

When your employee is away on jury duty, this cannot be counted as any other leave other than jury duty leave. An employee’s annual leave and sick leave will be unaffected.

Employers also cannot dismiss their employees for attending jury duty. Most Australian states restrict employers from terminating an employee or detrimentally changing or threatening employment terms because an employee is on jury duty.

Employers also cannot ask an employee to work on a day they serve as a juror in court or to work additional hours to make up for the time they missed whilst on jury duty.

When an employee is serving jury duty, employers generally must pay permanent employees their usual wages for the first 10 days of service or pay what is often called ‘make-up pay’. This is the difference between the jury service payment and the employee’s base rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked.