Jury service is a troublesome time for employers and employees alike. Employees being called for service can be unwanted, and at times it is an unavoidable situation with knock-on effects for your business. However, employers must accommodate the Summons of an employee and allow that employee to time-off work to fulfil their duty – as per Section 29 of the Juries Act 1976. To ensure you have as much information as possible on this matter, we have summarised the main points of this for you as an employer.
Jury service is a public duty, and every Irish national from the age of 18 and 70 is on the Register of Dáil Electors and can be picked, though certain occupations are exempt, i.e. Civil Service Workers and Jurors are chosen through a random computer selection if your employee is chosen they should inform you as soon as possible. To ensure the jury service is genuine, employers can request the employee provide them with a Certificate of Attendance, which the employee can request from the Jury Office. In normal circumstances, you are required to let your employee attend. However, there is a provision by which you can apply to delay the jury service of your employee if it would severely damage your business, and you would need to provide an explanatory letter.
The average period an employee can be tied up with jury service is ten days. However, for complicated trials, it can last much longer. Where an employee attends court but is not called for service, they are required to return to work as soon as possible. Likewise, if an employee is excused from the court for part of the day, they should return to work, where appropriate.
There is no Court issued payment for jury service. Anyone with a contract of employment (e.g. temporary workers, contract workers etc.) is entitled to be paid their regular wage or salary while they are on jury service. Therefore employees undertaking Jury Service are allowed to be paid their usual wage or salary by their employer for the term of their service. Employees also keep all their employment rights during this time.
It is important to note that if an employer fails to provide an employee with their rights under the Juries Act 1976, that employee can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission. It should also be mentioned that an employee cannot undertake jury service more than once every three years, so recording these events in your HR System will avoid further overlaps.