What should an employer consider when arranging cover for an employee on jury service?

Jury service usually lasts for two weeks, so arranging cover for an employee absent on jury service should not generally present any greater difficulties for employers than, for example, arranging cover for an employee on holiday or short-term sickness absence. Depending on the nature of the work, the employer's options include suspending the employee's work, redistributing the work or arranging temporary cover, for example by an agency worker.

Where a case is expected to last longer than two weeks, the employee will be informed of this at court, before he or she is selected for the trial. The court will ask the employee if there is any reason why he or she cannot attend for more than two weeks. The employee's work commitments could be a reason for not being selected for a long trial. He or she may be required to provide evidence of this.

When arranging cover for employees on jury service, employers should be aware that the employee may not be required to attend court for the whole day on each of the days for which he or she is summoned. Jurors may be released for part of a day, or for the remainder of their service. The employer should decide whether or not the employee is expected to return to work in these circumstances and ensure that the employee is aware of its policy.