Juror pay and employer obligations

While court officials and civic-minded individuals may emphasize the “duty” and “service” aspects of participation on a jury, there’s no question that fulfilling the requirements can have repercussions on an individual’s employment.

The Judicature Law recognizes the consequences of a person having to be absent from work in order to attend court during a three-month period, and possibly having to participate in one trial or more during that time. Accordingly, the law delineates obligations on behalf of the juror’s employer and authorizes a compensation scheme.

When a person receives summons for jury duty, “an employee shall on the next day he is engaged in his employment show the summons to his immediate supervisor and the employee shall thereupon be excused from his employment for the day or days required of him in serving as a juror,” according to the law.

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The employer must provide full pay to the employee for the days taken to fulfill jury duty. An employer who refuses to pay the employee on those days, or who terminates an employee because they are serving on a jury, can be found guilty of contempt of court (carrying a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and a $500 fine).

A juror is entitled to an allowance of $50 per day for court attendance, plus a maximum traveling allowance of $1 per mile to attend court. The allowance is paid out of the public treasury.

However, a juror who receives the $50 daily allowance (if employed) must pay the allowance to their employer. If the juror’s normal daily compensation is less than $50 per day, then they must pay their employer a portion of the $50 equal to their daily compensation.

When a juror has been serving for more than two months, and their employer can demonstrate financial loss because of the juror’s absence from employment, the employer can apply to the courts administrator for compensation to help offset the loss.