What employers need to know

Employers are obliged to release any employee summoned for jury service. 

The Jury Amendment Act 2010 defines an employee is anyone who is employed on a full-time basis or has been a regular casual employee for the past 12 months.

Employers are required to pay employees for the first ten days of jury service under the Fair Work Act 2009. However, this does not apply to casual employees.

As per the provisions outlined in the Jury Act 1977 and the Jury Amendment Act 2010, employers cannot:

  • force employees to take own leave, such as recreation or sick leave, while doing jury service (This includes the day they go to court for a jury summons) 
  • dismiss, injure or alter their employee's position for doing jury service
  • ask employees to work on any day that they are serving as jurors
  • ask employees to do additional hours or work to make up for time that they missed as a result of jury service

An employer who contravenes any of these laws, can be fined $22,000 (corporation) or $5,500 (individual) under Section 69 of the Jury Act 1977.

Employers can provide staff members with letters giving reasons why it might be difficult for the business if their employee has to attend jury service. The information contained in the letter will be taken into consideration by the Office of the Sheriff, and an employee may be excused on that occasion for a short period of time. If the employee is excused from jury service, they may be called up again in a few weeks or months. It is important that employers provide this information to their employees prior to the staff member attending on their summons date, as they cannot be excused once selected.

The allowance paid to jurors is not intended to be a substitute for a salary or wage. Many large firms continue to pay their employees a wage while they are doing jury service.

Information for employees

If you receive a jury summons, you should discuss your organisation's human resources policies, procedures and practices with your employer. This includes payment of your wages if you are selected for jury service.

Many employers are aware that the jury service allowance is not intended to be a substitute for your wages.

Your employer cannot ask for you to be excused, but they can give you supporting documents if you need to apply to be excused from jury service.   

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, an employer is required to pay full-time or part-time staff for the first ten days of jury service.      

Last updated:

10 Mar 2022

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