Every day you count on your employees to show up for work as a business owner. However, there will be times when this will be impossible, such as when they are summoned to jury duty.
A citizen of the United States must report to jury duty if he or she receives a summons for it. An employer is legally required to grant its employees time off so they can complete their jury duty responsibilities under federal law (particularly, the Jury System Improvement Act of 1978).
In addition, it is against the law for employers to intimidate or punish their employees for serving on a jury, for example, by terminating their employment or threatening to reduce their working hours. Most states in the United States have extra state regulations to safeguard potential jurors while they do their civic duty on top of federal law.
If your employee is selected to serve on a jury in a federal or state court, you must provide them with paid time off for jury duty under current leave regulations. Is it necessary, however, to pay them for their time as jurors?
For those of you who are wondering if you are legally compelled to pay your employees while they are serving on a jury, here are some answers:
Do You Have to Pay Your Employees While They Are on Jury Duty?
Employers are not required to pay their employees for time spent not working under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and this includes time spent serving on a jury.
However, even though the FLSA does not compel employers to pay their employees while they are serving on a jury, as an employer, you are not exempt from this obligation.
Your employees must be paid in line with your state’s jury duty pay requirements, which vary from state to state.
State Laws and Employee Pay for Jury Duty
Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee are the eight states that require companies to pay their employees for jury duty. The District of Columbia requires employers to pay employees while they are serving on jury duty, as well.
Each state sets its own requirements for how much companies must pay. Employers in Alabama are compelled to pay their employees while they are on jury duty, however in New York, they are only required to pay the first $40 of an employee’s regular earnings for the first three days of jury duty; after that, they are not required to pay any more jury duty pay.
As well as requiring businesses to pay jurors, fifteen states restrict employers from compelling their employees to utilise paid leave (such as sick time, vacation time, or personal time) to satisfy jury service responsibilities. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Virginia are those states.
For example, in Miami-Dade County in Florida employers must provide jury pay for any employee regularly scheduled to work at least 35 hours per week—whereas in Texas, if an exempt salaried employee works at all during the week, they’re entitled to their entire salary, even if part or most of the week is spent serving jury duty. In other jurisdictions, employers may be required to provide jury pay to certain types of employees.
Employers are not obligated to pay jury duty expenses in the remaining states of the United States. Even though businesses aren’t compelled to pay employees for jury duty, they can use any available leave (like sick or vacation time) if they want to be reimbursed while sitting on a jury.
When Your State Doesn’t Require It, You Should Still Think About Paying Your Employees for Jury Duty Even if Your State Doesn’t Require It You should consider paying your employees for jury duty depending on where you operate your business.
Make sure you pay your employees while they are on jury service in accordance with state law if your business is located in a jurisdiction where this is required. Even if your state doesn’t mandate it, you may want to think about paying your employees for jury duty even if they don’t have to serve.
As a business owner, you have no control over whether or not your employees will be summoned to serve on a jury, and for many, the financial consequences of doing so can be devastating. If you can afford it, consider reimbursing your employees for jury duty if it’s within your means.