Millions of Americans are selected for federal and state jury duty each year. That means that as an employer, you should be prepared for one of your employees getting a jury summons at some point while they’re working for you. We’ll go over the federal and state laws around employee jury duty leave, so that you know what you need to do to avoid fines and hefty lawsuits. Here’s what you should know as an employer when your employee gets called to jury duty.
Federal Jury Duty Leave Laws
As an employer, you’re required by law to grant employees leave time when they’re called for jury duty. Federal law doesn’t require you to pay hourly employees for their time off while serving, but some states and jurisdictions have their own laws requiring paid leave. Jurors serving on federal trials are paid $50 a day by the federal government.
Here’s a breakdown of the federal law regarding jury duty leave:
- Hourly employees are not required to be paid for time spent serving on a jury.
- Salary employees who are not eligible for overtime do get paid if they are on jury duty during their usual workweek.
- Employees may request a reschedule if the trial would create severe economic hardship to an employer.
- Employers cannot threaten, intimidate, or fire any employee for a jury duty summons or attendance.
In addition to knowing the federal law, you’ll also need to research your state and local laws around employee jury duty leave.
Can an employer refuse jury duty for their employee?
No. Only employees can request exemptions or attempt to reschedule their jury duty service. An attempt from you as the employer to stop them from attending jury duty could be interpreted as an illegal action.
Can I ask for proof that my employee has jury duty?
Yes. If you’re concerned about whether or not your employee is taking time off for a real jury duty summons, you can ask them to show you the summons or documentation of hours from the court. Since employers are not notified directly about jury duty summons sent to their employees, it is the responsibility of the employee to notify you immediately of the request.
State Jury Duty Leave Laws
Whether or not you’ll have to pay your employees for the time they serve on a jury varies by state and sometimes even by county. Every state and county has a law against firing or intimidating employees for jury duty service or summons, similar to the federal law. However, each state has its own laws around jury duty, including whether pay is required, whether employees can use PTO, and whether a jury duty stipend can be deducted from workers’ pay.
We’ve created a table to illustrate each US jurisdiction’s laws around jury duty leave:
Pay for Jury Duty
Can Use PTO
Other State-Specific Laws
|Alabama||Yes||No||Full-time employees get regular wages for days served as a juror. Employer may not deduct jury duty stipend from wages.|
|Arizona||No||No||If employer has less than five employees, a reschedule is permitted.|
|Colorado||Yes||No||All employees receive regular pay up to $50 for the first three days of service, unless you have agreed on higher pay.|
|Connecticut||Yes||Yes||Full-time employees are paid regular wages for the first 5 days only if they would have worked those days regularly.|
|Delaware||No||No||Employer cannot consider jury duty stipend as wages.|
|District of Columbia||Yes||No||None|
|Illinois||No||No||Employer can’t schedule a night-shift for an employee who serves on a jury during the day.|
|Indiana||No||No||If employer has 10 or fewer employees and one employee is already on jury duty leave, the second employee summoned may request a reschedule.|
|Iowa||No||No||Can request a reschedule if the employee’s absence would cause hardship to business.|
|Louisiana||Yes||No||Employer is required to pay one day’s wages to an employee for serving on a jury.|
|Maryland||No||No||Employer cannot schedule an employee to work the night before or the night after serving 4 or more hours on jury duty.|
|Massachusetts||Yes||No||Employer must pay all regular employees their normal pay for the first three days of jury service.|
|Michigan||No||No||Employers cannot schedule employees before or after their jury duty service if it extends their regular workday hours.|
|Mississippi||No||No||If employer has fewer than five employees, a reschedule is permitted.|
|Missouri||No||No||If employer has fewer than five employees, a reschedule is permitted.|
|Nevada||No||No||Employers cannot schedule employees eight hours before or after their jury duty service.|
|New York||Yes||No||Employers must pay the first $40 of employee’s pay for the first three days of jury service|
|Oklahoma||No||No||If employer has fewer than five employees, a reschedule is permitted.|
|Oregon||No||No||Employees can be excused if their jury service would cause undue hardship to the employer. If employer pays employee for their jury duty, employee must waive jury duty stipend.|
|Pennsylvania||No||No||Employers in the retail or service industries with less than 15 employees can apply for exemptions. Employers in the manufacturing industry with less than 40 employees can also apply for exemptions.|
|Tennessee||Yes||No||Employers who regularly employ fewer than five employees do not have to pay employees during their jury duty leave. Don’t have to pay employees who have been at the job for six months or less. Cannot schedule employees before or after jury duty. Can deduct employee pay based on the jury duty stipend given.|
|Virginia||No||No||Employers cannot schedule employees before or after their jury duty service.|
Are there penalties for not complying with jury duty summons?
Yes. If you are found guilty of intimidating, firing, or coercing your employee to not attend a federal or state jury duty summons, you are in violation of the law. According to federal law (28 U.S.C. § 1875), employers are liable for damages to the employee for noncompliance with a federal jury summons and may have to perform community service, pay a $5,000 civil penalty for each employee, and rehire the employee if they were fired.
When it comes to state jury duty noncompliance, penalties range. For example, in Idaho, employers who penalize their employees for attending jury duty can be found guilty of criminal contempt and have to pay a fine as part of their penalty.
Creating an Internal Policy for Jury Duty Leave
You can’t stop an employee from serving on jury duty, but you can prep your business. To lessen the hardship that jury duty places on your business, consider drafting up an internal policy around employee jury duty leave. Remember that your internal policy will need to comply with federal, state, and county laws.
Make sure your internal policy answers these questions:
- What are the local and federal laws the employee and you must follow?
- When does the employee need to notify you of their summons?
- What amount of time off is paid and unpaid?
- Can employees use paid time off to cover absence?
- Does the employee need to provide proof?
- Who will cover the employee’s responsibilities while they are gone?
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