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What Are The Rules Around Jury Service For Your Employees?

You need to handle it correctly ...

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I recently spoke to a client who had been told by one of their employees that they have been selected for jury service ...

Jury service for employees can be a pain for any small business, but you need to handle it correctly!

Jury service for employees can be a pain for any small business, but you need to handle it correctly!

copyright: pixelbliss / 123rf

There are rules around this that smaller employers may not be aware of, though it is important that you understand your obligations in situations such as these.

"You can't just refuse an employee the time off if they
have been summoned!"

This is because they are required to attend via the Juries Act 1974. It would, of course, be reasonable to ask for proof of selection, but if you refuse time off then you could find yourself in contempt of court.

However, the employee has the right to ask the court to be excused or get a deferment if not being there is likely to cause substantial damages to your business. You can talk to them and express any concerns, but you shouldn't pressure them and are not legally allowed to apply for excusal or deferment on their behalf.

The upside to this is that there is no statutory requirement to pay them normal wages whilst they are absence attending jury service. Jurors are allowed to claim a loss of earnings allowance so you can decide how much to pay them, if at all.

It is frustrating when this happens, especially for a key employee though you must ensure you do not subject them to any form of detriment because they attended jury service. Any form of disciplinary action or even a dismissal will be classed automatically as unfair by a tribunal and you would immediately lose the case because of it, even if they have less than two years' service.

It would be wise to include a jury service policy in your business which will allow you to manage the process efficiently and re-allocate any tasks and duties the employee normally performs quickly with minimal impact on your business.

"Would you like to know more?"

Although I'm not an HR professional, I can put you in touch with people who are. If you'd like to find out more about jury service then do give me a call on 01908 774320 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...

Business Godparent

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More about Roger Eddowes ...

Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.