Information on jury service for employers
If you have an employee who has received a notice or summons for jury service, they may be required to attend court for a period and may not be available for work.
This page provides information about your rights and obligations as an employer in this case. If you have further questions, please contact us.
Notice and summons
Just because your employee receives a 'Notice to prospective juror' (i.e. jury service notice) doesn’t mean they’ll do jury service. At this point, they’ve been randomly selected from the electoral roll and need to submit a questionnaire to establish their availability and eligibility.
If the questionnaire shows they’re suitable for jury service, their name goes into a second ballot or selection, where their name may be randomly chosen. If this occurs, they receive a summons for jury service.
Again, this doesn’t mean they will definitely sit on a jury, but they must remain available for a period of time (usually a few weeks and indicated on the summons) in case they’re required to come to court. Your employee can advise you of the dates.
They will be notified or will need to check online each afternoon to find out if they’re required the following day. So they may need to give short notice that they won’t be able to come to work.
If your employee is required in court, they still won’t necessarily be required to sit on a jury. They will go through a jury selection process (empanelment) where a jury of 12 to 15 people are chosen for a criminal trial. If your employee is not chosen that day, they will usually be let go for the day. They may be asked to come in another day.
If they are chosen for the jury, they will begin immediately, and will stay at court each day until the trial is over.
A person may apply to be be excused from jury service under certain circumstances. While work commitments are not usually an acceptable reason for excusal, your employee may apply to be excused if it will be difficult for them to be absent. (They may also apply for partial excusal if they need to be absent for a short time during their jury service period.)
You’ll need to provide a letter stating why your employee can’t attend, which they will attach to their completed questionnaire. However, the Sheriff or Registrar may still decline your employee’s application.
In considering the application for excusal, the Sheriff or Registrar will have regard to whether jury service would result in substantial financial hardship to the business which employs the person.
You are unable to ask the court to excuse your employee from jury service—only a juror can apply.
By law, you must release your employee to complete jury service when they are required. It is illegal for you to dismiss or disadvantage them for making themselves available for jury service.
Any employer convicted of such an offence could be jailed for up to one year.
Whether you pay your employee for the time they’re at court depends on the industrial award they’re employed under and the arrangements you’ve made with them.
Persons attending court in accordance with their summons do receive an allowance for performing jury service, which may be reimbursed to you from the employee if you pay your employee for their absence.