As a business owner, you rely on your employees to show up to work every day. But there are going to be occasions where that just isn’t possible—and that includes when they’re called for jury duty service.
Jury service is a civic duty—and, when they’re summoned for jury duty, citizens of the United States are required to answer the call. Under federal law (more specifically, the Jury System Improvement Act of 1978), employers must give their employees the time off necessary to fulfill their jury duty obligations. Employment law also prohibits employers from threatening or punishing their employees as a result of their jury duty service—for example, by firing them or threatening to cut their hours. In addition to federal law, most states in the US also have additional state laws to protect prospective jurors while filling their civic duty.
So, under current leave laws, whether your employee gets called to serve jury duty in a federal or state court, as an employer, you’re required to grant them jury duty leave. But do you also have to grant them juror pay?
Let’s take a dive into jury duty pay, whether you’re required to pay your team while they’re serving on a jury, and, if so, what compensation you’re required to provide:
Are You Required To Provide Pay To Your Employees While They Serve Jury Duty?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are not required to pay their employees for time they’re not working—and that includes time spent serving on a jury.
But just because the FLSA doesn’t have any jury duty requirements, as an employer, you’re not necessarily off the hook for paying your employees while they serve on a jury. Each state has its own jury duty pay laws—and you’ll need to pay your employees in accordance with any applicable laws in your state.
State Jury Duty Laws
Currently, there are eight states that require employers to pay their employees while serving on a jury: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee. Employers in the District of Columbia must also provide pay for their employees while they’re fulfilling their jury service.
How much employers have to pay varies widely by state. For example, in Alabama, businesses have to provide their employees their regular pay while they serve jury duty—while in New York, employers only have to cover the first $40 of the employee’s regular wages for the first three days of jury duty; once they’ve paid out those wages, they’re not required to provide any additional jury duty pay.
In addition to the states that require employers to provide juror pay, there are fifteen states that prohibit employers from requiring their employees use paid leave (including sick time, vacation time, or personal time) to cover their jury duty obligations. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.
Some states (and even some cities, counties, and municipalities) require that employers provide juror pay to certain types of employees; for example, in Miami-Dade county in Florida, employers must provide jury pay for any employee regularly scheduled to work at least 35 hours per week—while in Texas, if an exempt salaried employee works at all during the week, they’re entitled to their entire salary, even if part or most of the week is spent serving jury duty.
For the rest of the states in the US, employers aren’t required to provide any sort of compensation to cover jury duty. For example, in California, employers aren’t required to provide jury duty pay to their employees—but employees are free to use any available leave (like sick or vacation time) if they wish to be compensated while they’re serving on a jury.
Consider Providing Juror Pay For Your Employees—Even If Your State Doesn’t Require It
Depending on where you operate your business, you may or may not be required to pay your employees when they receive a jury summons and are chosen to serve on a jury.
If your business is in a state that requires you to pay your employees while they serve jury duty, you’ll want to make sure you provide pay that’s in accordance with your state laws. But even if your state doesn’t require it, you may want to consider providing some sort of compensation to your employees while they serve jury duty.
Your employees don’t have a choice when it comes to if and when they’re called to serve on a jury—and for many, losing pay while they fulfill their civic duty can cause serious financial hardship. If it’s within your budget, consider providing some sort of compensation or reimbursement to your team when they’re serving on a jury.