Introduction to this document

Time off for jury service letter

Use our letter confirming time off for jury service to set out the position on pay during their absence.

Juries Act 1974

Under the Juries Act 1974, individuals may be required to carry out jury service if they are at least 18 years old and not over the age of 75 on the day they start their jury service, are registered on a parliamentary or local government electoral roll and have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least five consecutive years since they were aged 13. Names are randomly selected by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau from an electronic copy of the electoral register. So someone could be selected for jury service several times but another person may never be selected.

Excusal and deferral

Individuals can apply to the court to be either excused from jury service or to have their jury service deferred to a later date. However, they will only be excused if either they cannot serve at any time during the following twelve months or they have already undertaken jury service within the previous two years.  Jury service can only be deferred for up to twelve months and it can only be deferred once. However, only your employee can apply for excusal or deferral. You cannot apply on your employee’s behalf but you are permitted to write a letter in support of their application - see our Deferral of Jury Service Letter.

Jury service

If your employee isn’t excused from jury service or doesn’t get it deferred, you should release them from work in accordance with the Jury Summons. Whilst there’s no specific statutory provision requiring you to grant an employee summoned for jury service time off work, in practice you must do so because a refusal to grant time off for jury service may constitute a contempt of court and you may also be placing your employee in contempt too. It’s also automatically unfair to dismiss an employee or to subject them to a detriment because they’ve been summoned for jury service.

Time off and pay

Your employee will be given a date from which their jury service will start and it normally lasts for two weeks, although it could be longer. Always ask to see a copy of the Jury Summons as evidence. Our Time Off for Jury Service Letter states that time off work will be granted, subject to provision of a copy of the Jury Summons. You’re not obliged to pay employees for time off for jury service, but may do so if you wish. First check the employee’s contract/staff handbook to ensure you’ve not contractually promised to pay. Assuming you haven’t, it’s up to you whether to pay or not. Employees may also put in a claim to the court for a loss of earnings allowance where they’re not paid. Our letter has three optional paragraphs - one for paid time off, one for unpaid time off and one for partly paid time off. In the second and third cases, the employee will need to claim the loss of earnings allowance available to them, but in the third case you will then make up the shortfall between that allowance and their normal take-home net pay.

Other matters

Finally, our letter requires the employee to report back to work on any day on which the court doesn’t require their services and to keep you informed of any change to the likely length of their absence due to jury service.