The Criminal Justice Act 2003 stated that any person between the ages of 18 to 70 is eligible to be selected for jury service. Only people who are on bail, served time in prison, or have a mental disorder are exempt from jury service. In most cases, employees are mandated by law to participate in the jury service.
An employer cannot prevent an employee from taking time off to carry out their legal duty, but whether the employer has to pay the employee while they’re on jury service is a different matter. Seeing how jury service can last for days or even weeks, many employers wonder what they can and cannot do.
The law doesn’t require an employer to pay the employee full wages while on jury service. Jurors not paid by employers normally receive an allowance from the courts. But these allowances, which go towards food, drink, and travel expenses, are minimal at best and don’t cover the employee’s pay if they were working full-time. With that in mind, the employer has these options:
- Not pay the employee while they serve on a jury.
- Pay only partially what the employee gets a normal wage.
- Cover the difference between the court allowance and the employee’s full-time wages for that period.
- Pay in full for the whole duration the employee is away at court.
Employers who choose not to pay an employee (only 5% of employers choose this option), must complete the Certificate of Loss of Earnings or Benefit so the employee can claim allowance from the court. Most employers, however, choose to pay employees in full during jury service though they have no legal obligation to do that.
While any employee eligible for jury service has the right to take time off from work to serve on the jury, the employer is not legally bound to pay the employee’s wages for that period. Most employers choose to compensate the employee either partially or in full for their jury service.