Do you pay your employers while on jury service?
Eight hundred years after Magna Carta sought to enshrine a citizen’s right to the lawful judgment of his peers, the UK’s judicial system puts very real pressures on both employers and their employees. While the latter is often aware of their legal position, the former is all too often caught unaware.
Under the UK’s system, people qualify to serve on a jury if they are between the ages of 18 and 75 on the day the service is due to start. Employers are required by law to allow employees time off work to complete their jury service.
Once called upon an employee does have the option of applying for a deferral, though this can only be done so once. However the window for such an application is only seven days from receiving the summons and this can only be requested by the employee. Employers have no right to ask for it to be deferred or for the employee to be excused.
It is estimated that each year around 178,000 individuals are called upon to do jury service in England and Wales, and while both employers and employees are legally bound to take part in the judicial system, it comes as a surprise to many that payment for jury service is not compulsory. The reason for this is that as jury service is a public duty, it should therefore remain the responsibility of each individual who is called to do jury service to perform that duty.