Do I have to allow an employee to go on jury service?
Despite any frustration on your part, is vital that you?do not subject an employee to any form of detriment for attending jury service. Whilst you may be inclined to deduct the time away from their annual leave allocation, this is unlikely to sit well with employees and may qualify as unlawful. Choosing to dismiss an employee for attending, or planning to attend, jury service will be automatically unfair. This means they will be able to bring a claim against you to an employment tribunal without the need for 2 years? service.
Perhaps one benefit is that there is?no statutory entitlement for employees to be paid their normal wages when absent due to jury service. As employees are able to claim an allowance for loss of earnings from the court you are able to decide how much to pay them, or whether to pay them at all. When making your decision, it may be worth knowing that there is no structure in place for you to claim financial compensation from the court for loss of earnings or inconvenience on your part.
Ultimately, whilst jury service can be seen as an inconvenience you should keep in mind that most proceedings usually last up to two weeks and are often cut short if an early decision can be reached. Whilst this is understandably more likely to impact smaller businesses with fewer resources, consider how taking a negative approach to the situation is unlikely to be good for employee relations. Instead, energies will be better spent on planning for this absence by sharing out work duties and arranging cover where necessary.Paul Holcroft is an associate director at national human resources and health & safety consultancy, Croner.