Jury service – The process for employers
You’ve set your sights on an exciting new project, got your people in place and are ready to hit the ground running. Then it happens. A key member of staff informs you that they have been selected for jury service.
“You’re joking!” is quite possibly the reaction you want to give. Until they hand you a very official letter to show you that they are not.
After this you’re probably wondering if you can get them out of serving and what counts as a viable excuse. Believe it or not, passable excuses in the past have included somebody in the U.S having a weak bladder and someone else simply not believing in the law!
Desperation can do all sorts. But before you go too far into thinking up reasons for them not to attend, it’s worth noting that jury service can develop a person’s skills and be a beneficial experience. From problem solving to working in a team, or removing emotions and channelling logical thinking. These are all transferrable skills that could be an asset to your business.
Who can be called for jury service?
Jury service is a public duty, and anyone eligible to vote in a federal election is eligible to serve. Although some people can be exempt due to their profession or criminal background.
Selection is random and although we all know that being chosen for jury service is a possibility, it can still seem out of the blue and feel like a disruption to day-to-day business when it does happen.
What do I need to do?
At this point your employee is going to be looking to you for guidance. And you may have questions of your own on what you need to do next. An employee being out of the office for jury duty could have an impact on your project and operational plans and so a rethink might also be required.
Follow a process
What may have seemed like a curveball being thrown into your day can be managed by following a clear process.
1.The employee should advise you of their expected period of leave, so consider that they are potentially going to be absent for this length of time.
Can you rearrange or postpone a project, or bring in cover to keep business running as usual?
2.If, after considering this, it appears that the employee’s absence will cause harm to your business, you can ask them to request a deferral.
3.For any full-time or part-time employee attending jury service, you will need to pay them “make-up pay” for the first 10 days of jury selection and jury duty. This is the difference between jury duty payment and their base pay rate for ordinary working hours. For the employee to be entitled to make-up pay you can ask them for evidence of their jury duty pay. For casual employees, it’s best to refer to your state department for advice.
4.Take note of enhanced employment protections. Employees missing work due to jury service are legally protected from unfair treatment and dismissal.
5.Call us if you have questions. Managing an employee on jury service and understanding your obligations as an employer can take time out of your already busy schedule. By outsourcing your HR to us, we can take this worry off your hands and help you come to a quick and effective solution that suits your business. Our HR Solution is backed by employer’s indemnity insurance, putting your business in a safe pair of hands.