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Employee time off for jury duty

Employee Time Off for Jury Duty

Are employers required to pay employees for the time that is taken off for jury duty?  It depends.  

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employer is not required to pay its non-exempt employees for any time off taken to fulfill an employee’s jury service obligation.  The Federal Jury System Improvement Act, 28 USCA §1875, merely prohibits an employer from discharging, threatening to discharge, intimidating or coercing any employee based upon the employee’s jury service.  Federal Law also requires that any employee who takes jury duty leave be treated in the same way as all other employees who are on a leave of absence with respect to employment benefits and that the employee be restored to his or her same position upon the employee’s return from jury duty.  

Some states require that an employer pay either all or some portion of an employee’s regular wages during jury service.  Maryland law does not have such a provision.  Maryland is similar to the Federal law in that it prohibits an employer from discharging an employee due to time lost from work as a result of performing jury duty, but does not require that an employer pay its employees. 

When do you have to pay an employee for jury duty?  If an employee who is exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act is summoned to jury duty, an employer may not make any deductions from that employee’s pay during any week during which he or she performs any work whatsoever.  Even if the employee only performs one hour’s worth of work during his or her jury service, the employee must be paid his or her full salary for that week.  The only circumstance during which an exempt employee is not guaranteed his or her full salary while on jury leave is if the employee performs no work in any given work week.  An exempt employee’s salary may be offset by any compensation that the employee receives from the courts for his or her jury service.

Employers must be careful not to unintentionally obligate themselves to pay employees for long periods of jury duty by providing for such payments in their employment practices and policies. 

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