What are an employer's options regarding payment of employees on jury service?
There is no statutory entitlement for employees to be paid their normal wages in respect of absence due to jury service. An employee who is not paid in full by his or her employer during jury service can claim an allowance for loss of earnings from the court, but this may not cover his or her normal wages.
If an employee attends jury service, the employer may choose:
- to pay the employee in full during the absence on jury service;
- to pay the employee to a limited extent, for example full pay for a certain number of days' jury service;
- to pay the difference between the court allowance and the employee's normal wages; or
- not to pay the employee during jury service at all.
If the employer does not pay the employee in full, it will need to complete the Certificate of Loss of Earnings or Benefit, which will be sent to the employee once he or she has confirmed his or her availability for jury service. The employee will be required to present this to the court on the first day of jury service in order to claim an allowance for loss of earnings.
An employer might provide employees with a contractual entitlement to pay during jury service. Where there is no contractual provision, the employer may exercise its discretion and provide full pay for the whole period spent on jury service, even though there is no statutory or contractual obligation to do so. If the employer chooses to pay some employees and not others, it must ensure that it has objective grounds for determining who will and will not receive full pay. If it fails to act consistently, there is a risk of a discrimination complaint.
If the employer elects to pay all employees who undertake jury service, it is likely to become a contractual entitlement through custom and practice.