Jury service is relatively rare (with only 35% of people being called) so it is common to be unsure of what to do if your employee tells you they have been called to serve!
Essentially, they have been asked to sit in on a trial as a juror and typically jury service lasts for a period of 10 working days.
You should ensure you have a Jury Service policy in place, both to help you navigate yourself through the process but also to enable your employee to know where they stand. There is likely to be a few concerns that they will have and a key one is likely to be pay.
You do not have to pay employees while they are doing jury service, however many companies do, and it is worth setting this out clearly in your policy, so an employee called for jury service has plenty of time to plan.
Your employees can claim loss of earnings and this is capped at £32.47 for the first 4 hours and then £64.95 for over 4 hours for each day you are in court. This can be deducted from their pay, should you choose to pay them. They can also claim towards their travel and parking expenses and a daily lunch allowance.
Most jurors will serve for a period of 10 days, but it is worth noting that they may be asked to sit on a trial that lasts for longer than this. If it is a long case, they will be notified prior to their jury service starting and everyone has the opportunity to state why they would be unable to sit on a jury of a long case. The court will consider reasons such as hospital appointments, holidays, childcare issues and in some cases work commitments.
You can ask your employee to request to defer their jury service if their attendance would seriously harm your business, where they will be asked to give alternative dates that they are available. In the event their deferral request is accepted, they will then be sent an alternative date to serve. They will then not be able to request a further deferral, so it is important you discuss with them dates that are mutually convenient.
As their jury service approaches, sit down with your employee to discuss what happens should they have long waiting periods (this is very common!) where they maybe able to undertake work whilst they are there. Is there the possibility for them to work remotely or flexibly which enables those not being paid to be paid as well as some of their role being covered while they are away? It is worth noting however it is important should they be serving on a case; they don’t feel pressured to work as this can be draining emotionally as well as time consuming and their attention during this time will need to be focussed on their case.
It is also not uncommon for a juror to be sent home and put “on call”. This can be for full days or as part days. It is important to set out your expectations in this case – i.e. do you expect them to and are they able to return to work in this instance. No loss of earnings will be paid during a waiting period away from the court, so it is important that if you are not paying them this is covered off again so they can plan.
On their return, whilst they will not be able to tell you the in’s and out’s of their experience (nor may they wish to), they may have served on an emotionally challenging case, therefore we would always recommend checking in on their well-being and whether they need any support.