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Do I have to release an employee who has been summoned for jury service?

Leave entitlementsOctober 12, 2016

Do I have to release an employee who has been summoned for jury service? (Last Updated On: November 9, 2016)

As an employer, yes, you are obliged to release any employee summoned for jury service as stated in the National Employment Standards (NES). The employee must be employed on a full-time basis, part-time basis or a regular casual employee for the past 12 months.

It is an offence to act in any way prejudicial to an employee if they have received a summons for jury service and you threaten to or take action such as:

  • forcing the employee to take other types of leave, such as annual or sick leave, while doing jury service
  • asking the employee to work on any day that they are serving as a juror
  • asking the employee to do additional hours or work to make up for time that they missed as a result of jury service
  • terminating the employee’s employment
  • ceasing remuneration for the employee
  • reducing the employee’s remuneration
  • or otherwise acting to prejudice the employee in relation to his or her employment

What are the evidence requirements?

An employee should alert their employer of the requirement for jury service 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 service is the responsibility of the person summoned.

How can I verify my employee attended jury service?

Each juror can request a certificate of attendance verifying the days they attended for jury service. Employers can ask for this certificate from their employee if verification is required.

Do I have to pay my employee while they are on jury service?

Jury service is the only form of community service leave that is paid. When employees take leave for jury service, they receive jury service pay from the government and employers then top this up to their usual pay for up to 10 days. Often referred to as ‘make-up pay’, it is the difference between any jury service payment the employee receives from the government and the employee’s base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked.

An employee, other than a casual employee, has to be paid ‘make-up pay’ for the first 10 days of jury selection and jury service.

Before paying make-up pay, an employer may request evidence from the employee to show:

  • that the employee has taken all necessary steps to obtain jury service pay
  • the total amount of jury service pay that has been paid or will be payable to the employee for the period

You can ask your employee for evidence they have taken steps to get the full amount of jury service pay and evidence of how much pay they received in the first two weeks. You do not have to pay community service leave for employees who are still doing jury service after 10 days.

If a state law provides for paid community service leave that is more generous than the NES, then the generous amount applies.

As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, Employsure can help you if you have any questions relating to jury service or employer obligations. Call us today on 1300 651 415 to speak with a specialist.

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