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Giving Staff Time Off Work for Jury Duty

Employers must follow certain rules when giving staff time off to attend jury service or perform magistrate duty in the United Kingdom.

This help guide explains what to do if a court calls up your employee for jury service and how to pay staff or top up their allowance.

If an Employee is Called Up for Jury Service

If any of your employees are called up to serve on a jury you must let them take time off work – and without discrimination.

Furthermore, dismissing an employee for taking time off to go on jury service can result in an employment tribunal.

UK employment laws allow you to ask your employee to delay their jury service (e.g. if it would have a serious affect on your business).

Note: Employees can only delay their jury service once in any 12-month period (stating their availability on the jury summons). As a rule, doing jury service rarely lasts longer than ten (10) days.

Paying Staff Who Perform Jury Duty

There is no legal requirement for employers to pay their staff members when doing jury service. Even so, many choose to pay their workers even when they are taking time off work.

You would need to calculate tax and National Insurance contributions in the usual way, if you decide to pay your employee. But, you would not be able to claim back money that you (either):

  • Paid to the employee.
  • Lost due to their time spent on jury service.

Employees will be able to claim a loss of earnings allowance from the court if they are not going to get paid by their employer.

The employer would need to fill in a certificate of loss of earnings for the employee (sent to them with their jury service letter).

Note: Select ‘Yes’ in the field titled ‘Irregular payment pattern indicator’ in the Full Payment Submission (FPS) if jury service will last longer than three (3) months.

Topping Up Loss of Earnings Allowance

You will need to complete a certificate of loss of earnings if you are going to top up your employee’s allowance.

When working out the top-up payment:

  • Subtract the court allowance from their usual take-home pay.
  • The figure you get will be the amount you need to give your employee.

Your payroll software should be able to calculate the ‘net to gross’ amount. Following that, you can then deduct the relevant tax and National Insurance from it.

Returning to Work after Jury Service

Some employees may have unused Personal Allowance (e.g. from a cumulative tax code) when they come back to work. You can use your payroll software to work out whether they:

Important: Employers can ask HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for financial help for an employee tax refund (e.g. if they are unable to pay it themselves).

Give Staff Time Off for Magistrate Duty

The law in the United Kingdom forces employers to allow employees who are magistrates a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to carry out public duties.

In doing so, your employee may need to spend time in court for a period of at least thirteen (13) days per year (or twenty six half-days).

Employers have enough time to plan and agree time off work because employees will receive their magistrate rota in advance.

There is no requirement to pay an employee while performing magistrate duties. But, they will be able to claim Magistrates’ Allowances from the court for loss of earnings.

Note: Employers must give time off to employees to undertake their role as a Justice of the Peace in Scotland.

Giving Employee Time Off for Jury Service in United Kingdom