Having staff out of work can put a strain on a business. One way that can take staff out of work for a length of time is jury service.
Staff have a legal obligation to serve on a jury, but how can a summons affect your business?
Having a key staff member away from work during their jury service can be problematic, especially if they are called to do a lengthy trial.
While businesses are allowed to request that jury service can be deferred if the impact on business will be severe, this can only be done once. You will still have to allow staff time off work to attend, otherwise you risk being taken to an employment tribunal.
The disruption to a business can vary and it depends on the company role of the person on jury service. For example, in a retail environment, if the person called was a salesperson, this could be remedied by increasing the shifts of other staff members.
In other situations, where a key member of the management team is summoned, a business might need to look at how it operates during those times when that employee is not present. Most jury service lasts on average for two weeks, so the disruption could be the same as when that person is on holiday.
However, in the event of a trial that goes on for weeks or months at a time, having a key business member out of the office could mean you need to look at other options to find suitable workarounds. This could include enlisting someone as an acting department head, for example, to cover as much of a workload as possible.
Failure to accommodate your staff’s need to do jury service, causing them to leave your business, or sacking a staff member for attending jury service, can both lead to wrongful dismissal claims being levelled against you.
As a business, you don’t need to pay staff during time taken off for jury service. It’s worth noting that they can claim back money from their jury service each day, but this allowance might not be the same amount as their daily pay.
However, as an employer, you are able to make a top up payment to help towards this allowance to ensure they don’t lose out on any pay. This amount is often calculated as being the difference between the staff member’s usual daily pay and the allowance paid by the jury service.
It is important to keep in mind that the amount a staff member claims can increase. This is in relation to a trial’s length and how much of each day they are at the trial. There may be occasions where a trial adjourns early, or a case is decided quickly, meaning the staff member might not be needed for the full jury time and could potentially be at work instead.
At FSB, we provide our members with a legal protection scheme to help and support them and their companies. This helps to provide them with advice on how to cope with jury service and how to deal with any staff disputes being summoned might cause.
This can help ensure a business continues to operate effectively and efficiently.
The service includes:
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help in providing advice and supporting a business, or to find out more about our other legal services, please get in touch with our team or visit the FSB Legal Protection Scheme page.
Legal protection covers various scenarios and ensures you and your business are covered