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Jury Duty – An Employers Responsibilities


Jury duty.  It is something that many people dread being called for, but being summoned and responding is a civic duty and an honored privilege, critical to our judicial system.  That can be an article all to itself, but today we will cover how the employer handles calls to jury duty by their employees.

Employers are prohibited by state laws from terminating or penalizing an employee, in any way, who is called to serve on jury duty.  Being laid off would certainly dissuade people from serving, so the states provide a bit of protection to the employee.  If the employee serves a critical function for the employer and missing work causes undue hardship, it may be an acceptable reason to be excused.  The employee will need to present the details to the court for that decision to be made.  The larger the company, the less expectation an undue hardship request will hold up.

On days where the employee serves on jury duty, employers are not required by any federal law to compensate employees, although we do find a number of companies recognize the civic duty and implement a jury duty paid leave as part of their company policy.  Sure, the courts do compensate jurors, but it is more of what I would call a token of appreciation, ranging from $5 a day in states such as Mississippi and New Jersey to $50 a day in Georgia, with the average being around $15.  Usually just enough to buy lunch.  Unless you live in South Carolina, that is.  They pay zero.

There are a few states that require the employer to pay their employees.  In some cases, their full regular pay.  The pay cannot be taken from any paid time off balance the employee may have accrued, so you can’t force your employee to use any of their acccured PTO or vacation leave.  In most cases, if the employer pays the employee, they will forgo any daily compensation set by the court.  We also find that if the court does compensate the employee, the employer can reduce their compensation by the same amount.  Here are a list of the few states that have a requirement:

Alabama employers are required to pay jurors their normal wage. 

Colorado employers must pay all regularly employed jurors regular wages, but not to exceed $50 per day for the first three days of service.  This includes part-time and temporary employees.

District of Columbia employers must pay their full-time employees, serving on a jury for five or fewer days, their usual compensation less the amount paid for jury service. 

Louisiana employers are required to pay normal wages for all working hours spent at jury duty.

Massachusetts employers must pay all employees their regular wages for any work missed for the first three days of jury duty.  

Nebraska employers must pay all employees their normal wages for all working hours of jury duty.

Tennessee employers must pay all employees their usual compensation, unless the employer has less than five employees on a regular basis or if the employee called to duty has been employed for less than six months.

To complicate matters, some counties and localities may have jury duty compensation laws.  For example, Miami-Dade County requires employers to pay employees for jury duty if a) the employee is regularly scheduled to work at least 35 hours a week, b) the employer has at least 10 full-time employees, c) the employee serves as a juror in Miami-Dade County, d) the employer has an office or does business in Miami-Dade County, and e) the employee gives the employer a copy of the summons and notice of jury service at least five working days prior to absence from work. 

One last compensation consideration is for employees who are classified as salary exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The employee’s salary is a guaranteed amount for each workweek, yes workweek, regardless of the quantity of work that is performed or the number of hours worked, as long as some work is performed during the week.  This means if a salaried employee is out for jury duty for a day or two, three, four, then they must be paid their full salary for the week.  Only if an exempt employee is out for the entire week for jury duty do they not have to be paid.  Of course, unless they fall under one of the state or local rules we covered above.

With the ever growing number of employees working from home in a state and county you may not be familiar with, this is yet another payroll/HR law in which you will need to keep up.

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While I make every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided in this article, the information is provided “as-is” without warranty of any kind. They may be additional situations that apply to you that are not mentioned above. PayMaster, Inc and Romeo Chicco do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained. Consult with your CPA, Labor Attorney, and/or HR Professional to ensure you are in compliance.

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