Daneshvar Law

Paying Employees for Jury Duty

Am I required to pay wages to employees who serve on jury duty?

You are not required to pay wages to non-exempt employees who serve on jury duty. Exempt employees must be paid full salary for any week in which they perform any work. There is a difference in that you must pay an exempt employee who works any part of a week and is on jury duty, versus a non-exempt employee who does not have to be paid. This is just another reason it is so important to properly classify your employees.

The California Labor Commissioner has stated in the Enforcement and Interpretations Manual that federal law, with respect to jury duty, is compatible with state law and will be followed. Any exempt employee who works any part of a week and who serves on jury duty must be paid salary for the full week. Both the U.S. Department of Labor and the state Labor Commissioner, however, will allow employers to offset any amounts received by an employee for jury fees for that particular week.

Exempt employees are subject to certain compensation requirements in order to retain the exempt status. Code of Federal Regulations Section 29 CFR 541.602 provides that an exempt employee must be paid on a salary basis to be considered an exempt employee. The general rule contained in paragraph (a) provides that if an exempt employee performs any work within a week, then that employee must be paid salary for the full week. Under paragraph (b), there are certain exceptions when the exempt employee is absent of his/her own volition. The exception does not apply to jury duty. Paragraph (b)(4) requires that exempt employees who work any part of a week be paid full salary for that week. If not, the exempt status will be lost. An exempt employee who misses a full week of work because of jury duty does not have to be paid salary for that week.

It’s crucial that employers recognize that very seldom will an exempt employee perform absolutely no work in a week— even answering e-mail, listening to voicemail, reporting to the office outside of jury duty hours will all constitute work during the week.

Additionally , California Labor Code Section 230(a) provides that an employer may not discriminate against an employee for taking time off to serve as required by law in an inquest jury or trial jury, if the employee,prior to taking time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that he/she is required to serve.Labor Code Section 230(a) does not require the payment of wages for non-exempt employees nor the payment of salary for exempt employees who miss work because of jury duty. Both classes of employees, however, are protected from being discriminated against.

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