Jury duty doesn’t come up often. However, when employees are called to make a contribution to our judicial system it can be impactful on your workplace for a few hours or maybe as long as a few months. In this context, it is important to understand your obligations as an employer so that you’re effectively managing the times when your employee’s may be called to undertake this duty.
What should an employer do?
Under the National Employment Standards, employees are entitled to take leave for jury service, or jury service selection, where required by a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.
The period of leave covers,
- the time when the employee engages in the activity; and
- reasonable travelling time; and
- rest time immediately following the activity.
Some members tell us that the first time they are aware that their employee has attended for jury service is when they see it on their timesheet. Whilst an employer cannot refuse to grant leave in relation to jury service, the best practice and requirements of the NES are that employees must advise their employers of the period or expected period of leave as soon as possible. The employee is also required to provide evidence including confirmation from the Court that they attended jury service or jury service selection.
Don’t be fooled when it comes to jury service selection. This is the process where the person is selected or rejected for the jury. If an employee is not selected for jury service and is subsequently sent home by the Court, their time for jury service selection may only last a few hours and they should be available to return to work that day.
What happens to the pay for employees attending jury service or jury selection service?
Employers should not pay until they are satisfied the employee has met all requirements.
In addition, when an employee claims leave for jury service or jury selection service the employer should immediately request confirmation from the employee that they have taken all necessary steps to obtain jury duty pay and, if they have obtained jury duty pay, the total amount that has been paid or will be payable. This is an important step as employers are only required to pay “make-up” pay. Make-up pay is the difference between what the Court has paid and the employee’s base rate of pay for their ordinary hours had they been at work.
Documents from the Court confirming the employee’s jury duty pay can easily be attached to an employer’s standard leave form in addition to a timesheet entry. Employers may withhold pay until they are satisfied the above requirements have been met.
How long do we have to keep paying?
For full-time and part-time employees, once an employer is satisfied with the evidence, make-up pay is to be paid for the first 10 days of jury service or jury selection service. There is no requirement for an employer to pay beyond the first 10 days.
If in doubt, before the payroll is processed contact Ai Group Workplace Lawyers on 1300 554 581.