If you or an employee are selected for jury service, not only can the time spent at court have a big impact on the day-to-day running of your small business, it can also result in a loss of earnings.
Our legal experts from FSB Legal Protection Scheme explain how jury service works, the process for claiming expenses and the added protection available for FSB members at no extra cost.
What is jury service?
Anyone can be chosen at random from the electoral register to serve on the jury.
Jury duty typically lasts 10 working days, usually from 10am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, but some trials can take longer. You’ll be made aware by jury staff if this is the case.
I’ve been selected for jury service, what should I do?
If you receive a jury summons letter in the post, you must respond in seven days and confirm if you can attend. You can ask to delay your jury service once if you have a reasonable excuse, such as a booked holiday or operation.
If you don’t respond or turn up for your jury service, you could be fined up to £1,000.
My employee has been selected for jury service, what should I do?
Your employee should give you a copy of their jury summons letter. You must let the employee have time off work, but you can ask them to delay their jury service if it will have a significant impact on your business.
Failure to do this can lead to employment tribunals, and if you let someone go because of it, you run the risk of them claiming unfair dismissal.
You can choose to pay your employees during this time, but there is no legal obligation.
Jury service can be a real pain when you’re managing a small team and are short staffed, because it can impact your bottom line. One of my employees was recently called for jury duty and knowing that as an FSB member I have insurance protection to claim for that loss of income up to £1,000 gives me peace of mind.
Claiming allowances and loss of earnings
Crucially for business owners, you won’t be paid for jury service. If you’re spending time away from your business, or an employee can’t carry out their role, this leads to loss of earnings. However, you can claim some expenses back, like travel or meals.
You’ll need to follow a different process depending on where you are in the UK:
What extra protection is available?
As an FSB member, you can claim up to £100 per day, with a maximum of £1,000 per claim, for losses incurred due to you or an employee attending jury service. It covers you if you receive notification of jury service during your membership.
As a sole trader, I was always worried about jury duty because of the loss of income and time out from my business. With FSB membership, I know I can claim jury service payment through FSB Legal Protection Scheme without worrying about how I’m going to pay the bills