Time & Attendance
By David Galic
Jul. 10, 2023
While jury duty is legally required for those selected, most US citizens view it as not just a responsibility but also as an important civic function. According to Bar Prep Hero’s recent study, 60.2% believe jury duty should be mandatory for all citizens.
There are also those who would rather avoid it if possible. Bar Prep Hero’s survey found that 9.2% admitted that they lied during jury selection in order to get out of jury duty. The biggest reason why people want to avoid jury duty is that they see it as a financial inconvenience.
When employees have to attend court for jury duty, they are unable to go to work for as long as the trial lasts. And even though employees are required by law to fulfill their jury duty if summoned, employers in a majority of states are not obligated to compensate them for working hours missed as a result of jury duty.
Are you, as an employer, obligated to compensate or grant additional PTO to staff who are on jury leave? If you’re not sure, we’ve made a complete guide of jury duty laws by state to help you understand your legal obligations.
Jury duty is not only a legal obligation but also an opportunity for American citizens to participate in their country’s judicial process firsthand.
The jury selection process differs slightly depending on the jurisdiction, but it most commonly includes the following steps:
The judge and attorneys then select the final jurors who will serve on the jury for the trial. Their duty is to follow the trial proceedings — to listen to the evidence presented, witness testimonies, and arguments from both sides. Their duty is complete once the jury deliberates together and reaches a verdict based on the evidence and instructions provided by the judge.
While the length of your jury duty depends on the complexity of the trial, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts claims that most people finish their jury duty in a matter of one to three days in that state. Once a person has served jury duty, they will not be required to do so again for at least another three years.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), federal law doesn’t require employers to provide employees paid leave for jury duty or with compensation or benefits.
However, state laws are a different matter. Some states require employers to pay an employee while they are serving jury duty. Many have laws protecting employees from being fired or penalized while serving jury duty. Several have laws requiring employers to allow employees to use their paid time off (PTO) if they wish to do so for jury service.
Employers also have the ability to create their own jury duty policies for employees. For example, employers in states that don’t require them to compensate employees for jury duty could create their own policy that does offer compensation in order to stand out from competitors in terms of employee benefits.
Most employees don’t know what the laws are in their state regarding jury duty. That’s why it’s important for human resources (HR) professionals to have a full understanding of their legal requirements regarding jury duty leave, as well as their company’s specific policies, if any exist.
A total of 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) require employers to pay employees who are called to serve mandatory jury duty:
There are also 15 states that explicitly prohibit employers from requiring employees to use any personal leave to fulfill their jury duty obligations.
Even though not every state mandates that employees be paid when serving jury duty, every state has laws against employers discharging or penalizing employers for serving jury duty — or threatening to do so.
For quick reference, check this table to see if your state mandates employers to pay for employee jury duty absences and if employees are required by law to use personal time off for jury duty.
|State||Are employers mandated to pay for jury duty absences?||Can employers require employees to use their PTO for jury duty?|
|Florida||Yes (Broward and Miami-Dade Counties)||Yes|
Here’s a more in-depth look at some states that have more specific jury duty laws:
Alabama state law requires employers to grant paid leave for jury duty to full-time employees. To be eligible for paid leave, the employee must show their employer the jury summons on the next workday after receiving it.
If a company has five or fewer full-time employees, only one employee can serve jury duty at a time. The court will automatically postpone or reschedule jury duty if a second employee is summoned during the same time.
Colorado laws require employers to pay employees up to $50 per day for the first three trial days of jury duty unless the employer has a policy in which they are obligated to pay more. This law includes not just full-time salaried employees but also part-time, temporary, and casual employees.
Connecticut laws stipulate that employers must pay full-time employees regular wages for the first five days of jury service. The only way employers can be excused from paying is by submitting an application to the Chief Court Administrator with proof of sufficient financial hardship.
District of Columbia laws require employers to provide employees with leave to serve jury duty. However, the laws don;t requires employers to offer paid leave.
There is no state law in Florida that requires employers to pay employees for jury duty. However, there are several county ordinances that do. In Broward County, employees must be paid a regular salary for up to five days of jury duty-related leave, provided that the employee gives a copy of the summons to their immediate supervisor at least five days before the first day of scheduled jury duty.
In Miami-Dade County, employers must pay employees for jury service if:
Even though Georgia laws do not require employers to offer paid leave for jury service, the Attorney General issued an opinion in 1989 interpreting a statute as requiring employers to pay employees for jury service leave.
Therefore, employers must pay regular salaries to employees serving jury duty.
According to Louisiana laws, the employer is required to pay wages to employees serving jury duty but only for a single day of service.
In Massachusetts, employers must pay employees at the regular rate for the first three days of jury duty. This includes part-time, temporary, and casual employees.
Nebraska laws require employers to pay employees full wages during jury duty.
In Nevada, employers are not required to pay any wages for time spent serving on a jury. However, they can’t require staff to work within eight hours of the time they’re supposed to serve.
Also, on the day of jury duty, employees can’t be required to work between 5:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.
According to New York State laws, employers with ten or more employees must pay the first $40 of the employee’s regular daily wages for the first three days of jury duty.
In Oregon, it’s common for employers to have internal policies that mandate regular pay for employees on jury duty; however, it is not legally required by the state.
Tennessee laws mandate that employers who have five or more employees must pay for time spent serving jury duty as long as the employee has been with the company for at least six months.
All employers have the ability to create their own jury duty compensation policies regardless of what state laws mandate.
If you’re looking to develop your own employer policy, here are a few key areas to consider:
Once created, focus on clearly communicating your policy to employees. Ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities related to jury duty and how the company will support them during their absence.
Consider expressing support and encouragement to employees who are serving on juries. Acknowledging the importance of their participation in the legal system will help foster a positive work environment that values civic engagement.
Once you have developed your jury duty policy, it’s important to maintain accurate records of employees’ jury duty absences, leave taken, and any related compensation or benefits provided to help ensure compliance with legal requirements and facilitate fair treatment across the company.
Contact us today to learn how Workforce.com can help you easily comply with your state’s jury duty leave policies.
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