It is likely an employee at your business will get called to jury duty. They will have a court-ordered document requiring them to serve. Businesses must provide time off for employees to fulfill their civic duties during jury duty. While federal law does not require employers to pay employees for jury duty, some state regulations do require payment. Having a clear policy in place and understanding your specific local laws will make the process easier.
Jury Duty Leave Laws by State
In addition to federal jury duty requirements that instruct an employer to provide unpaid time off, employers are not responsible for paying employees any compensation for absence due to jury duty—unless there is a company policy, contract, or collective bargaining agreement or state law that applies.
The following states have guidelines in place outside of the federal requirements regarding jury duty leave and whether or not you must pay your employees for this leave.
Employers in Alabama are required to provide paid time off for their employees to attend jury duty. Employees must be paid at their regular hourly rate for all jury duty hours that fall within a normal workday.
In Arizona, employers are only required to provide unpaid jury duty leave to their employees. An employer is not allowed to request that an employee use paid time off—such as vacation, sick, or personal leave—to attend jury duty.
Private-sector employers in the state of Arkansas are only required to provide unpaid jury duty leave to their employees, whereas state employers must provide paid jury duty leave to their workers. Additionally, an employer is not allowed to request that an employee use PTO to attend jury duty.
Colorado employers are required to provide paid time off to their employees to attend jury duty. Regular employees (full-time, part-time, temporary, and casual employees with a set schedule) must be paid at their regular hourly rate (not to exceed $50 per day unless mutually agreed) for up to three days of jury duty service.
Employers in Connecticut are required to provide paid time off to their employees to attend jury duty. Full-time employees (who work a minimum of 30 hours per week within the 90 days before jury duty) must be paid at their regular hourly rate for the first five days of jury duty service.
Employers in Georgia are required to provide unpaid leave to employees for jury duty service. In 1989, the Attorney General advised that employers should provide employees with pay during jury duty service; however it is not a requirement.
In Indiana, employers are only obligated to provide unpaid leave to employees for jury duty. While an employee is free to use PTO during their jury duty time, no employer can require employees to take time off.
Employers in Kansas are required to provide unpaid leave for their employees to attend jury duty. Private employers are not obligated to provide paid time off; however, state employers must pay their employees their regular wages during jury duty.
Louisiana employers are required to provide paid leave to employees for jury duty. Employees are entitled to one day of full compensation. Employers may not require employees to use paid time off or sick leave during their jury duty obligations.
Employers in Maryland are not obligated to pay employees for missed time due to jury duty service. Employees with a jury duty compensation clause in their employment contract must be paid an offset to the amount the court provides for jury duty service. Additionally, employers cannot require their employees to use paid time off during their service and may not require employees to work between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. if they serve for four or more hours on jury duty that day.
In Massachusetts, employers are required to provide paid jury duty leave to all regular employees. Employees are entitled to pay for up to three days of jury duty service.
Employers in Mississippi are only required to provide unpaid jury duty leave to their employees. However, state employees may be given administrative leave with pay during their jury duty service.
In Missouri, employers are only required to provide unpaid leave to their employees serving on jury duty. Additionally, employers are not allowed to require employees to use paid time off during their jury duty service.
Nebraska employers are required to provide paid leave to their employees for jury duty service. Employees must be excused with pay by their employer for the total number of days they are required to serve on jury duty. Employers may pay full wages to their employees, pay the difference between full wages and the compensation given by the courts, or pay full wages and request the employee donate their court compensation.
Employers in Nevada are only required to provide unpaid leave to their employees that serve on jury duty. An employee cannot be required to use their paid time off during their jury duty service. Additionally, employees may not be required to work within eight hours of their jury duty service and/or between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. if they serve at least four hours of jury duty.
In New Jersey, employers are required to provide unpaid leave for their employees to attend jury duty. Any full-time state employee is entitled to receive their full compensation in place of court compensation while on jury duty.
Employers in New York are required to provide unpaid jury duty leave to their employees. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may withhold wages of any employees who serve on jury duty; however, employers with 10 or more employees must pay the first $40 per diem for the first three days of jury duty.
In Pennsylvania, employers are only required to provide unpaid leave to their employees who must attend jury duty. Additionally, it is mandatory for employers in the retail and service industry with 15 or more employees, as well as manufacturers with 40 or more employees, to provide this unpaid leave.
Tennessee employers are required to provide paid leave to employees for their service on jury duty. Employees are entitled to their full wages, minus any court compensation, and travel reimbursements to and from the courthouse. Employers with five or fewer employees are not obligated to pay employees for jury duty service.
In Utah, employers are only required to provide unpaid leave to their employees serving on jury duty. Additionally, employers are not allowed to require employees to use paid time off during their jury duty service.
Employers in Virginia are required to provide unpaid leave to their employees for jury duty service. Additionally, employees may not be required to work within eight hours of their jury duty service and/or between the hours of 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. if they serve at least four hours of jury duty.
Employers in the District of Columbia are required to pay their full-time employees for jury duty service. Employees are entitled to their full wages, less jury duty payments, for the first five days of service.
Creating a Jury Duty Policy
Adding a jury duty policy to your existing company handbook will help your employees understand their requirements and keep your business compliant with federal and state laws. When creating your policy, follow these simple rules:
Follow All Federal and State Laws
US law is clear about what you need to do as an employer when your employee is summoned for jury duty. As an employer:
- You must excuse the employee from work to attend jury duty
- You may be required to pay an exempt employee their regular salary while on jury duty
- You may not be required to pay a nonexempt employee for work hours missed
- You may ask the employee to notify you in advance
- You may ask the employee to postpone jury duty based on a business need
- You may request an employee to “return to work” if dismissed/excused before the end of the business day if they’re not selected for jury duty
Spell Out Your Payment Policy
When creating your jury duty policy, be sure to state if you will pay your employees while they are serving on jury duty. Be aware of any state laws that require you to do so; if there are no specific state laws in your area, you should consider the following:
- Who is eligible? This typically includes full-time salaried employees. You can decide if you want to pay part-time or hourly employees while they are on jury duty.
- How much will they be paid? You must decide if you plan to pay your workers their full salary or a portion thereof. Some employers pay the difference between an employee’s salary and the stipend they receive from the court.
- How long will the employee be paid? Some businesses put a cap on the number of days an employee will be paid for jury duty. If their service is required beyond those days, the employee can use paid time off (PTO) or unpaid time off. Again, there are specific state laws that prevent you from requiring your employee to use PTO, so be sure to check your state.
- Will employees be required to return jury duty payments? Anyone that serves on jury duty will receive a small stipend per day for their service. Some employers allow employees to keep this payment along with their regular salary, whereas others may require employees to reimburse the company for the total amount provided by the courts.
Unless your business is in one of the states that requires you pay your employees, you may not be required to pay workers while they’re out on jury duty. However, 68% of employers supplement the wages paid by the court up to the employees’ full pay.
State Employee Requirements
You will need to determine and state in your policy what an employee is required to do when summoned to jury duty—such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Notify supervisor immediately upon receiving a jury duty summons
- Provide a copy of the summons to HR
- Must use PTO to serve on jury duty (i.e., after a certain number of days). See State requirements below.
- Must reimburse the company for the amount of jury duty pay received by the courts
- Must return to work following a partial court day
You can download and customize our sample jury duty policy to suit your business needs, such as how employees should request time off for jury duty, what documentation you need from them, and if and how the employee will be paid while on jury duty.
Sample Business Letter to Excuse Employees From Jury Duty
You can write a letter to the courts in an attempt to excuse your employee from jury duty if it will cause severe hardship to your business. If you choose to do this, then you must explain in the letter how the employee serving on a jury will impact your business. Courts still have the final decision on this, and your letter does not guarantee that your employee will be released from jury duty.
Some possible examples for your employee to be excused from jury duty include:
- Valid business reason: The employee is your only “licensed agent” on staff
- Valid business scheduling conflict: The employee is scheduled for a business event or trip that cannot be postponed
- Financial hardship: Your business risks losing income if the employee is out
- Seasonal business: Your business is seasonal and/or you do not have enough employees
We’ve provided two sample letters to help you request a judge postpone or reschedule jury duty for your employee based on business needs.
Caution! Do not risk fines or jail time for your employee or your business by misrepresenting your needs in order to help an employee get out of jury duty.
Adding a jury duty policy to your employee handbook is a best practice. This clearly communicates to your employees what is expected of them and whether or not they will receive compensation from the business. Be sure to include any state-specific laws in your policy and follow through with paying employees where it is required.
Certified HR specialists at Bambee can create a jury policy fully compliant with all federal, state, and local laws. You get a certified HR manager who will work with you to craft, implement, and securely store the HR policies your business needs.