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Jury Duty - To Pay or Not to Pay


jury duty pay regulationsNEW: We have an updated version of this blog post. Click here to read it

What are my obligations, as an employer, regarding employees who are called to jury duty?

Many states prohibit employers from penalizing, firing or taking adverse personnel action against employees that are called for jury duty or respond to a jury summons.  Other states require that an employee provide their employer with reasonable notice of jury service.  A number of states also prohibit employers from deducting from an employee’s pay due to time off of work for jury duty service.  And five states are required to pay employees for their jury duty time off. 

Employers should contact their state labor department for additional information on their state’s regulations regarding time off for jury duty.  The United States Department of Labor website provides employers with a guide to local and regional Department of Labor programs and services by state.  Click here to access the DOL Services by Location web page.        

Employee Job Protection under the Federal Jury System Improvement Act
In connection with jury duty in a United States Federal court, an employer is prohibited from discharging, threatening to discharge, intimidating, or coercing an employee because of jury service and requires that the employer allow the employee to return to work after jury duty service.  Any employer that violates this Federal law is subject to a fine up to $5,000 per violation and may be ordered to perform community service.

Exempt Employee Pay for Jury Duty Service
Federal Wage and Hour regulations specify that employers may not make deductions from a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exempt employee's salary for absences caused by jury duty or for that employee’s attendance as a witness.  Employers may offset any amount that an employee receives as jury or witness fees for a particular week against the salary due to the employee for that particular week.  Click here to access the FLSA Overtime Security Advisor web page for more information on exempt employees and jury duty.

State Pay Requirements for Jury Duty Time Off
Unless your employee handbook or company personnel policies say otherwise, most states generally do not require that employees be paid for jury duty time off.  Some states do however; require that employers pay employees a certain amount of money for jury duty time.  The amount an employee is paid for jury duty will vary from state to state.  States that are required to pay employees for jury duty service include Alabama, Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts and New YorkThe Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Employee Benefits Survey indicates that 87 percent of employers offer paid leave for jury duty service.

What’s Your Jury Duty Policy?
If your company doesn’t have a personnel policy on jury duty service, be on the lookout for Friday’s blog article.  We’ll include a sample jury duty policy that you can customize for your company.

Have a question on your state's jury duty regulations?  Post a comment to this article and we'll research the laws for your state based on a number of different resources we have.

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Im a goverment employee, and summoned for jury duty. In the state of new york, can I get paid for jury dury on my regular scheduled day off. If so, who pays the fee to me, my employer or the state?

What is the requirement for the state of maryland and jury duty? The DOL service by location web page was not very helpful. 
Thank you

Here is information from the BNA's Payroll Library...  
Hope this helps some. Thanks! 
Maryland Jury Duty Leave  
Maryland's law applies to all public and private employers; however, this summary discusses only provisions applicable to private employers.  
Pay and Benefits  
Jury duty leave can be unpaid.  
Prohibited Employer Actions  
Employers cannot deprive workers of employment solely for missing work because they are responding to jury summonses or serving as jurors. 
Employers that violate the jury duty leave laws are subject to fines of up to $1,000.  
Web References  
Maryland Laws: http://mlis.state.md.us/

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Jury duty pay in AL, I understand an employer is required to compensate an employee for the number of hours his normal workday would include. So if the employee was on jury duty on his "scheduled days off" that would not be normal workday and therefore not compensated? Is this interpretation correct?

Vickie, from what we can tell based on your question... as long as the employee will not be shorted his normal compensation, their employer does not have to pay for this employee's scheduled day off. What we aren't sure of is if what you refer to as his "scheduled day off" was PTO that was pre-scheduled or that maybe he never works Mondays and that was the jury duty day. Here is a link to Alabama's jury duty policy for more clarification...http://www.alalabor.state.al.us/faq.htm#Jury%20Duty%20Law  
Hope this helps some.

I live in CT and have jury duty for a civil case that may last up to 3 weeks. My employer by law is paying me for the first 5 days of service, and using my PTO to pay me for the remainder of my service. I do not want to use my PTO for jury duty and was advised it is not my choice. I will be able to take time off during the year without pay but I have to use PTO to get paid for jury duty. It makes no sense. Is it legal?

Donna... In general, employers can require an employee to use PTO for any time off in lieu of unpaid time off, but there are always exceptions. Some states have specific rules on paid and unpaid jury duty leave. Here are some links that may help you. You should also checkt to see if your employer has a jury duty policy in their employee handbook. That may provide more details as to what is covered and for how much time off. 

Donna... In general, employers can require an employee to use PTO for any time off in lieu of unpaid time off, but there are always exceptions. Some states have specific rules on paid and unpaid jury duty leave. Here are some links that may help you. You should also check to see if your employer has a jury duty policy in their employee handbook. That may provide more details as to what is covered and for how much time off.  

If your employer pays you your full salary for jury duty can they legally require you to pay them back from the money you earned from the state for said jury duty? I live in Georgia and work for a federal company.

Atsanna, the following comes from BNA (The Bureau for National Affairs): 
Pay and Benefits 
Georgia law does not address whether jury duty leave can be paid or unpaid. The state attorney general, however, has issued an opinion interpreting the law's prohibition on penalizing employees for service to mean that employers must pay full compensation—less any fees received for jury duty—to workers who take leave to serve as jurors. 
Since the law seems to be a bit vague and since the attorney general has issued an opinion on the subject, we would recommend you investigate this further especially since your employer is a Federal company. That could change things completely. 
Here is a link to the Georgia website... http://www.georgia.gov

As an employer with only one full time employee, it would be a huge financial hardship to pay for jury duty and for someone to work while employee is gone. Is there any way to be excused from paying someone while they are not here? Thank you


Hi Denise - Thanks for your question.

Which state are you in? Once I know that information, I can find the appropriate answer for you. 




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