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When Employees Are Called for Jury Duty

  • 9 June 2015
  • Author: Cari Holbrook
  • Number of views: 3121
When Employees Are Called for Jury Duty

Participating in the judicial process is an important role. And most calls for jury duty result in little more than a day away from work, so it doesn’t necessarily disrupt business as usual when an employee gets called to serve. But what if jury duty ends up taking longer than a day or two? What are your employees’ rights as well as your own rights when it comes to supporting them during that time away from work?

Whether you’re required to pay your employee during time off for jury duty or not depends on the type of employee they are and the length of duty. In Texas, you’re not currently required to pay an employee for missed work due to jury duty, unless that employee is salaried and non-exempt. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, a deduction from the salary of a non-exempt employee could still be made for jury duty time off, but would have to be authorized by the employee in writing under the Texas Payday Law or covered by paid leave. This can be a tricky situation that could fall under the juror protection law, however. You may be able to give the employee a paid leave advance that would either be offset by future leave accruals or deducted on the employee’s final paycheck. Check with a payroll specialist or employment attorney first.

When it comes to exempt salaried employees, the rules are somewhat different. TWC outlines that, if an exempt salaried employee called for jury duty works any part of a week, the full workweek’s salary must be paid (although partial-week deductions from leave balances may be allowed).

If you do pay for that time away, the law allows your company to require the employee to turn over jury duty pay. However, not many businesses choose to do so, since jury duty pay is usually less than the employee’s regular salary. If you chose this option, note that payroll tax obligations apply to the regular wage amount but can be reduced by the assigned jury duty pay.

Whether you choose (under the law) to compensate the employee or not, one rule must always be followed: If you are a private employer, you cannot terminate or penalize a permanent employee (or threaten to do so) because he or she served as a juror, even if that jury duty is long-term. Doing so could be considered a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas, according to the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code. For more about jurors’ rights under this specific code, visit the Bexar County Jury Services website.

Supporting employees while they serve their civic duty is important. How exactly you are required to do so, though, depends on the factors above. For more tips on compensation and employee taxes during jury duty time off, contact us.

Image Copyright:  123RF Stock Photo

Categories: Blog, General
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