Employers required to pay for jury duty
Public Law Number 281 of September 27, 2003, known as the "Jury Service Administration Act," creates the Jury Service Administration Bureau and sets important guidelines of jury duty leave to which employees are entitled.
This law seeks to broaden the pool of prospective jurors by improving their employment-related conditions. It provides for payment of wages during jury duty for employees of private employers, except if the employee is already enjoying a paid leave of absence for any other reason.
15 days paid leave
Private employers must provide a maximum of 15 working days of paid leave per year, in addition to any other daily compensation to which the employee is entitled. If the employee is required to appear as a juror for a period in excess of 15 days, the excess may charged to accrued vacation time.
The employee must procure a certification to be issued by the clerk of the court, which is to state the exact duration of jury duty, and must submit a copy said document to the employer. The notice of need to be absent from work must be given to the employer not less than five working days in advance, in order to be entitled to paid jury duty. Nevertheless, the employee may validly bypass this requirement given the existence of a valid reason, such as late receipt of the summons.
Employers may not terminate the employment of employees for serving as jurors. Any employer who authorizes, threatens, consents or carries out the termination, suspension, salary reduction or demotion of an employee, or who imposes unduly harsh working conditions on an employee for the sole reason of having served or been summoned as juror, or who refuses to reinstate an employee terminated for this reason, will be liable in the following manner:
for an amount double the damages caused to the employee, or for$1,000, whichever amount were larger; or
for an amount no smaller than $1,000 nor larger than $3,000, as the court may see fit to award, if no specific monetary damages can be ascertained or determined.
The court may also order the employer to cease and desist in its discriminatory practices, and may also compel the employer to reinstate the employee in his or her position.
The Act also forbids all public or private employers from withholding or discounting the days and hours spent by an employee on jury duty from his or her salary. Employers who do so will be ordered to pay the amount that was withheld or discounted, plus the additional compensation that was withheld, plus the costs, expenses, interest and attorney's fees in which the employee incurred, in an amount no lower than $1,000.
© 2004 Goldman Antonetti