The American legal system provides that all citizens who are eligible for jury service must serve if called upon. Every prospective juror is duty-bound to report for service, regardless of how inconvenient or disruptive the timing is for work. Many employers have a policy of continuing to pay their employees during jury service, but it is not a federal requirement. According to the Department of Labor:
“The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, including jury duty. This type of benefit is generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s representative).”
You may continue your employee’s salary during all or part of their jury service, but you are not federally required to. While the loss of pay may be a legitimate reason for not wanting to serve on a jury, the court typically only makes exceptions for people who demonstrate suffering undue hardship or other extreme inconveniences as a result of being summoned.
Some state laws do require employers to pay employees for jury duty service. For instance, Connecticut entitles full-time workers to regular pay for the first five days of jury duty. Jurors that are not entitled to wages from an employer may be eligible for up to $50 per day from the state for reimbursement of necessary out-of-pocket expenses, such as mileage and child care, for the first five days. All jurors serving more than five days will be reimbursed $50 per day by the state.
In return for their service, federal jurors are paid $40 a day by the courts. Trial jurors who serve on either criminal or civil trials can be paid up to $50 a day after serving 10 days on a trial. Jurors who serve on a grand jury can receive up to $50 a day after serving 45 days on a grand jury. Additionally, jurors are also reimbursed for reasonable transportation and parking fees, and for meals and lodging if they are required to stay overnight.
It’s worth looking into your own state’s laws before deciding your company’s policy on jury duty pay. Connecticut notes that “most employers go above and beyond the law when accommodating employees that have been called.” Will you?