Jury Duty: Employers - Frequently Asked Questions

Jury duty is everyone's legal responsibility and requires the cooperation of employers, employees, the Government and the community to ensure this vital part of the justice system functions properly within our democracy.

The jury system is flexible enough to allow a juror to defer their jury duty to a later period that better suits their circumstances if they are unable to attend when first summoned. This allows the juror to deal with serious inconvenience and hardship affected by personal or employment circumstances. This flexibility ensures this important part of our justice system is shared with all members of the community.

An employee summoned for jury duty can apply to postpone their jury service to a more suitable date. This is a process the juror must apply for, well in advance of the time they are initially summoned for jury duty.

An employee should alert their employer of the requirement for jury duty as soon as possible. Issues of serious inconvenience and/or hardship can then be discussed between the employee and the employer.

However it is important to remember that jury duty is the responsibility of the person summoned and there are serious penalties for an employer acting prejudicial towards an employee when they are doing jury duty. Further information about this matter is detailed below.

An employer must be prepared to make alternative arrangements if a staff member has been summoned for jury duty. Circumstances and claims of hardship may be addressed through the deferral process. Employers may limit inconvenience to their business by encouraging staff to advise them as soon as they receive a summons for jury duty.

Employers can also apply for a reimbursement of lost income when a staff member is doing jury duty if a loss can be substantiated. This also applies to self-employed workers who do jury duty. Refer to the reimbursement of wages and claims for payment page for more information.

What do I do if my employee is summoned for jury service?

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Employers must allow an employee to attend jury duty and continue to pay their wages or salary whether full-time, part-time or casual. There are serious penalties for acting prejudicial toward an employee when they are doing jury duty. Further information about this matter is detailed below.

Employers can apply for a reimbursement for lost income to be considered, as a result of their staff doing jury duty if a loss can be substantiated.

Employers may need to take steps to account for the absence of their employee as jury duty can be for an unknown period of time.

Employers need to ask their employees to keep them informed of the progress of jury duty as sometimes there can be a break in between the selection process which means the employee may be able to return to work during that period. Often a juror will be discharged if not selected for a trial after a few hours on the first day.

If an employee is a juror on a trial, the employer should enquire as to how long the trial is estimated to run so that the employer can make appropriate arrangements.

Do I have to release my employee?

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Yes. It is an offence to act in any way prejudicial to an employee if they have received a summons for jury duty and you threaten to and/or take action.

There is a penalty of $10,000 for individual employers and $50,000 for corporations if an employer takes any of the following actions as a consequence of an employee being summoned to jury duty:

  1. terminate the employee's employment
  2. cease remunerating the employee
  3. reduce the employee's remuneration
  4. or otherwise act so as to prejudice the employee in relation to his or her employment with the employer
  5. threaten to take an action described in any of paragraphs (a) to (d).

If an employee works away, such as fly in fly out workers or off shore, then the employer will need to find a way to ensure their employee is able to attend as summoned.

How many days will my employee be on jury duty?

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The duration of jury duty will be determined by the length and number of trials listed for the week summoned.

The selection process can continue throughout the week and a person may not be selected to serve on a jury immediately and may be released to return to work, then subsequently required to re attend for selection. The selection of jurors for a trial is carried out via a random process.

A large portion of scheduled trials are normally completed within five days. However, there are times when trials may continue for longer periods. An employee needs to advise their employer of the expected duration of their trial if empaneled. All jurors are encouraged to keep their employers informed of their jury duty requirements.

Do I have to continue to pay my employee?

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Yes. Employers are required by law to continue to pay their employee their usual wages when they are doing jury duty. Employers may then apply to be reimbursed wages if a loss can be substantiated.

If my employee is not selected as a juror, then what?

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The selection of jurors for trials can occur on multiple days within a week. Generally, jurors not chosen on any given day will be asked to return to work.

If after the selection process your employee is not selected for a trial they will be discharged.

Employers and employees should continue to communicate during this time.

If my employee is selected as a juror, then what?

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If your employee is selected as a juror, they will not normally return to work until the trial is completed. Your employee needs to advise you of the estimated length of the trial and anticipated return to work date. It is the employer’s responsibility to continue to pay the employee’s usual wage.

How can I verify my employee attended for jury duty?

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Each juror can request a certificate of attendance verifying the days they attended for jury duty. Employers need to ask for this certificate from their employee if verification is required by the employer. A certificate can be issued at any time after jury duty, on request, by the juror.

Can my employee seek to be excused after empanelment?

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No. Only the judge can excuse a juror after empanelment.

Fly in Fly out Employees, do they have to do jury duty?

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Yes. Jury duty is a legal responsibility that needs to be shared among all members of the community. The co-operation of business, employers and employees will help this important process of our justice system run smoothly.

We encourage people to talk to their employer and work together to determine the best time to do jury duty, remembering that a summoned person can defer jury duty up to six months from the date of their original summons. It is important to note the date chosen must be suitable for the summoned person and whilst we encourage them to work with you, the decision and responsibility lies with the summoned person to ensure they can complete jury duty on the date they nominate.

Jury laws deliver serious penalties for employers who act prejudicially against an employee that has been summoned to jury duty. The penalty is up to $50,000 for a corporation.

We do not recommend you suggest to your employee to do jury duty on their down time as this is their time to rest and recoup. Further you and your employee may not be able to make any claims for lost income. There are serious penalties for an employer that acts prejudicially to their employee by forcing them to do jury duty on their down time as this may be in breach of the Juries Act.

Please contact jury services if you need further assistance.

Page reviewed 11 August 2020