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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Lawgistics Update: jury service

Date: Thursday 08 July 2021

The jury service process can be unpredictable and may cause an interruption to the business, so Lawgistics have offered advice on what to do if an employee advises that they have been summoned for jury service.

Anyone between the ages of 18-70 can be called for jury service unless they fall into one of the four exempt categories. The exemptions primarily relate to certain job types and those who have recent criminal convictions.

Most businesses and their employees are unlikely to be exempt from participating in jury service. If an employee has been summoned for jury service, the business may have a few questions on the implications for the business.

Do I have to allow my employee time off?
If an employee advises that they have been summoned for jury service, they cannot be refused them time off to participate in this service.

The jury summons letter will provide the employee with the date they are expected to attend court. There are limited circumstances for which the juror could ask to change the date of jury service to another date within the next 12 months such as: if they have an operation, exam, holiday, they are a new parent, or their employer will not give them time off work due to their absence seriously harming the business. The date can only be changed once.

An employer cannot use the employee’s time off for jury service as a reason for dismissal. This will result in the dismissal being ‘automatically unfair.’ Likewise, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee for attending jury service.

The jury service process can be unpredictable and may cause an interruption to the business. Whilst jury service is typically expected to last no longer than 10 working days, this is not guaranteed and will depend on the type of case being tried. With the exception of the first date of attendance, jurors will not know beforehand the specific time and dates they will be expected to attend court. Therefore, it is recommended that the employer communicates with the employee throughout the service period to confirm whether they have any dates available to attend work, even if it is for a half day. However, it is also advised that arrangements should be in place throughout the 10 days (or more) to cover the employee’s absence.

Do I have to pay my employee if they are on jury service?
Unless the employment contract states otherwise, it is not complustory to pay the employee for their time off for jury service. The court will reimburse the employee for their loss of earnings during their time at court. An employer can, however, choose to pay an employee.

Employment contracts may not contain a clause relating to pay for time off for jury service. Before agreeing to pay the employee for their jury service time, employers are advised to be cautious as this may set a precedent for other employees.

The employee will be given a ‘certificate of loss’ form to be completed by the employer. The form is self-explanatory and simply requires confirmation of the employee’s days and hours usually worked and their hourly rate of pay.

The amount paid by the court for the employee’s loss of earning is capped and the amount that can be claimed depends on the hours spent at court each day and the length of jury service. At the time of writing, the pay is currently capped at the following rates:–

For the first 10 days of jury service, employees can claim up to:

After 10 days, the employee can claim:

Some employees may earn more than the capped amount. The employer may, therefore, wish to consider topping up their payment so they do not suffer a loss. The employee will need to keep a record of the time and dates they attended court so that the top up amount can be calculated.