Most employers believe that an employee has a civic responsibility
to serve when called as a juror or witness. The policy on leave of
absence and pay for jury or witness duty should be in writing and
be communicated to employees in the employee handbook and on the company
intranet. When developing your policy, consider the following points:
Legal compliance. Ensure that your
policy meets the minimum requirements of federal and any applicable
state laws. If you do business in several states with differing rights
for leave for jury or witness duty, you may want to maintain a consistent
policy in all of your facilities by following the law with the most
generous provisions for the employees.
Notification. Determine and communicate
whom employees should contact when they receive notice to report for
jury or witness duty and when. You can instruct employees to present
a copy of the subpoena, court order, or jury notice.
Documentation. Courts will usually
provide employees with documentation for their employers of days/hours
Compensation. The most common practice
is to pay employees the difference between their regular pay and any
compensation they receive from the court system. Also, decide whether
you want to place a limit on how long the employee will be paid--for
example, 2 weeks per calendar year--and whether different groups of
employees--hourly, salaried, probationary--will be compensated in
the same manner.
Early release. If you voluntarily
continue to pay an employee on jury or witness duty, it may be reasonable
to require an employee to report back to work if released by the court
before 12 noon, depending on the distance of the court from work.
If you have employees on a second shift, decide under what circumstances
you expect an employee who is released early to report. Some states
have specific rules regarding this situation.
Deferrals. Determine the criteria
for your company to request that an employee be deferred or excused
from witness or jury duty due to disruption of operations and who
must approve these requests. Be aware that courts may refuse the request.