Jury Service – What do you need to know
Every year thousands of New Zealanders are called up to serve on a Jury, so if you have employees it is only a matter of time before one of them gets summoned for Jury Service. What should you do if this happens?
Talk to your employee
Find out when they have been told to go for jury service and how long it may last. Discuss how it may affect the the workload and the rest of the team.
If they are not selected to be a juror on any of the days of the week they’ve been summoned for, they should return to work straight away.
If they are selected to be a juror, they may be away from work for only part of the week they’ve been summoned for or for the whole week, or it could take longer than that one week. The letter your employee receives will state if the court thinks it will take longer.
What are your legal obligations?
The law states that you must let your employee do jury service. If there is too much work on at the time of the jury service, your employee can ask the court to defer their service until the later date within the next year. You as the employer will need to write a letter that your employee can send through as supporting documentation for their deferral request.
Do you have to pay your employee whilst they are doing jury service?
You don’t! People who attend jury service receive a small attendance fee from the Ministry of Justice. This payment is not provided to replace wages/salary, it is a thank you for their service.
Employers don’t have to pay employees while they do jury service, but many choose to ‘top up’ the money the employee gets from the Ministry of Justice so that they get their normal pay.
We would recommend adding a clause regarding Jury Service in your employment agreements with your employees so there is clarity for all parties involved.
If you need any assistance with working out what to pay your employee’s on Jury Service, or would like to discuss further – feel free to reach out to us here!