Jury Duty Leave
What is Jury Duty Leave?
Jury duty is when you get randomly selected from the electoral register to be a juror in a court case. It could be a criminal case or a civil case, but you'll be part of a group of people who collectively decide what the outcome of the trial should be.
When you’re selected for jury duty, you’re legally required to take part in it, meaning you’ll sometimes have to take time out of work for it. Jury duty leave is a policy that companies can offer to employees that sets out the guidelines for what to do if you’re called for jury duty. Some companies offer paid leave for jury duty, whereas others offer unpaid time off.
Do employers legally have to offer jury duty leave?
In the UK, employers are legally required to allow employees time off work for jury duty (Employment Rights Act, 1996). However, the Act doesn’t require companies to offer paid time off to employees who have to take jury duty leave.
So if you’re selected for jury service, it’s a good idea to check your company’s policy to be aware of what you’re entitled to.
What are the benefits of jury duty leave?
The number one benefit of having a jury duty policy is that it delivers peace of mind to both employees and companies. Here’s how:
As an employee, if you’re called in for jury duty, it can sometimes feel a bit stressful as you’ll have to take time off work with minimal warning. It can throw off your plans and, if you’re not offered paid time off for it, can cause financial worries too. Offering employees a generous jury duty policy that includes paid leave will take this stress off them!
Employers also get peace of mind by offering a comprehensive jury duty policy as you won't have to worry about getting into any legal trouble if an employee misses work due to jury service, plus you’ll have more relaxed employees!
So, if you're an employee and you get called for jury duty, it's definitely worth asking your employer if they offer Jury Duty Leave — it can make a big difference in reducing your stress, and any financial burden. And, if you're an employer, having a jury duty policy is a great way to support your employees and show that you care about their well-being.
Who is eligible for jury duty leave?
Since it’s a legal requirement to allow employees time off for Jury Duty in the UK, most companies have some kind of policy in place for it. Whether or not you’re eligible for paid or unpaid time off is up to the company and can sometimes be dependent on your contractual hours. For example, a full-time employee may be offered paid jury duty leave, whereas a part-time employee may not be.
How much time off is needed for jury duty?
In the UK, employers have to allow employees time away from work for as long as the case is ongoing.
Jury duty will not usually last longer than 10 days, but the average length of a case is 3-7 days. It’s standard practice for companies to offer employees up to 2 weeks’ paid time off from work just in case the trial goes on longer than the average 7 days.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for how to write a jury duty leave policy, check out our policy generator to give you a rough guide!
Tips for employers offering Jury Duty Leave
When it comes to offering jury duty leave, companies should also make sure they:
- Stay aware of local regulations — some areas require employers to provide paid leave to employees who have to take leave for jury duty.
- Ensure employees aren’t penalised for missing work through either loss of pay or unfair disciplinary.
- Support employees during and after the case — keep in mind that sometimes the cases can be emotionally challenging for jurors.
Overall, Jury Duty Leave is a valuable policy to have in place for when and if employees need to use it. It’s super important to stay compliant when it comes to allowing employees to take time off work for jury service, but offering a generous policy that includes full pay will best support your team and take the stress off.