For millions of Americans, they’ll inevitably end up summoned to jury duty. Jury duty is a civic duty, which means you are required to appear in court or face hefty fines or potential jail time. However, being summoned for jury duty also means that you’ll end up missing work and potentially losing money. In this article, criminal defense attorney Rahul Balaram of Balaram Law Office talks about receiving payment when you get called for jury duty.

While most places offer a compensation of $50 for every time a person serves their jury duty, this can often fall short of their usual daily wages, and can seriously impact their budget. If you’re summoned, you must appear in court, but what about those lost wages?

On Your Employer’s End

The federal law does not require businesses to pay employees their full salary for time missed due to jury duty, but every state is different.

Nearly every state requires employers to give employees time off if they are summoned for jury duty, so you can’t be penalized or forced to skip jury duty for your employer, but that doesn’t mean they have to pay their employees for that time.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to get paid from your employer if they aren’t required to or they don’t have a company policy for paying employees who are summoned for jury duty.

Some states do require businesses to pay their employees for time spent carrying out their civic duty, though. Those states are Massachusetts, Nebraska, Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, New York, and Tennessee. Still, some states, like New York, only encourage employers to pay their employee’s full wages, but they do require them to pay at least $40 per day.

Because every state is different, it’s important to check your state’s stance on employee pay for jury duty. You should also check with your company’s policy; some businesses still offer pay, even if they are not required by state law to do so.

Can I Just Use My Paid Vacation Time?

Yes, you can. If you haven’t missed a day due to being sick, on vacation, or family time, and have plenty of PTO days saved up, you can use those to cover missed wages due to jury duty. However, businesses cannot make that decision for you; some states protect employees from being forced to use PTO.
In fact, there is a total of 15 states that prohibit businesses from forcing employees to take their PTO, including New Mexico, Alabama, Virginia, Nebraska, Arizona, Ohio, Utah, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Vermont, Louisiana, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, and Arkansas.

Compensations and Reimbursements

The bottom line is, even if your business doesn’t offer paid time off for carrying out your civic duty, the federal courts pay jurors $50 per day and $60 per day if the trial lasts longer than 10 days for both petit and grand juries.
On the state level, it depends, so it’s important to do your own research. Some states, like Texas, pay around $40 a day, but others, like Wisconsin, have a half-day rate of only $8.

If you have to travel, you are also offered reimbursement for transportation, food, and lodging costs, if you have to stay overnight.

Author's Bio: 

Rahul Balaram worked as a Public Defender for Solano County for many years and has represented hundreds of clients. Most recently, he worked on the misdemeanor conflict panel representing indigent clients. Rahul can be contacted at the Balaram Law Office in Santa Rosa and is available for consultation by phone and text 24/7. He represents his clients with dignity, compassion, and competence.