The Juries Act 2000 (Vic) outlines your obligations to your employee while they attend jury service.

Your employee's obligations to you

It is expected your employee fulfils these obligations to you.

 

Sufficient notice

Summons

Your employee must notify you as soon as possible of their summons date. This provides you with as much time as possible to make sufficient arrangements to cover their absence.

It should be noted your employee's summons outlines the possibility their summons date may need to be changed. In this instance, they must let you know of the new date as soon as possible.

Selection as a juror

If selected as a juror on a trial, your employee should inform you as soon as possible, usually at the first break in the trial proceedings, of the estimated length of their service.

 

Certificate of Attendance

It is expected your employee will, upon the conclusion of their jury service, provide you with a Certificate of Attendance and remittance advice. These detail their dates of attendance, the duration of their jury service, and an itemised list of payments made to them by Juries Victoria.

Your obligations to your employee

The Juries Act 2000 (Vic) outlines a number of obligations you have to your employee regarding jury service. These obligations supersede the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and all enterprise bargaining agreements and employment contracts, meaning the provisions of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic) must be adhered to.

If you fail to adhere to your obligations to your employee, substantial penalties may apply.

 

Attendance

You must release your employee for jury service. Preventing them from attending may result in substantial penalties.

With the exception of a very small number of specific circumstances, work is not considered a valid reason to be excused. You are prohibited from demanding, pressuring, or coercing your employee to request to be excused or deferred.

However, you can have a discussion with them regarding operational concerns, such as peak trading periods or other key staff being on leave. While the decision to apply to be deferred is entirely your employee's, you may ask them to take these considerations into account.

 

Casual workers

If your employee is employed on a casual contract, but work consistent and regular hours, they are not considered a 'casual employee' with respect to jury service. As such, they are guaranteed all the same protections and entitlements as full-time and part-time employees.

If your employee is employed on a casual contract, and their hours vary considerably, you may not be obligated to pay them while they are attending jury service. We encourage your employee to call our office to discuss their circumstances with us further.

 

Leave

Jury service must not be deducted from your employee's annual leave, sick leave, or any other form of leave entitlements.

 

Pay

You are legally obligated to pay your employee the difference between their juror payments ($40 per day for the first 6 days, $80 per day thereafter) and what they would reasonably have expected to have earned had they attended work instead of jury service. This includes any penalties, allowances, or loadings they would normally receive.

This obligation exists for the entire duration of their jury service, regardless of its length, and applies no matter the size of your business.

 

Roster

Except where required to cover your employee's confirmed attendance dates, you must not alter their usual roster as a result of jury service.

 

Termination or other penalties

You are prohibited from terminating or threatening to terminate your employee's employment, or otherwise prejudicing their employment because they are, were, or will be absent from employment on jury service.

 

Work

In many circumstances, your employee will not be able to work during jury service. Being a juror is considered a full-time job, Monday to Friday. However, there may be some instances or circumstances whereby they could reasonably go to work during a trial, say if the court finishes early or does not sit on a particular day. Occasional, one-off work on a weekend might also be appropriate in some circumstances.

The underpinning principle to be considered is your employee's health and well-being. Employers and the Juries Commissioner alike are obliged to protect your health and safety, which includes monitoring maximum work hours, minimum break requirements and days worked consecutively. Jury service is considered work when assessing these obligations.

Evening shifts

Even though evening shifts may be outside standard court hours, your employee is not required to attend evening shifts on any day they have undertaken jury service.

However, you must still pay them the difference between their jury payment and what they would have earned had they worked. This includes penalties, allowances, and loadings.

Night shifts

Your employee is not required to work any part of a night shift which occurs on the same day as their jury service. This includes working past midnight the night before, as well as beginning a night shift the evening of their jury service.

However, you must still pay them the difference between their jury payment and what they would have earned had they worked. This includes penalties, allowances, and loadings.

Weekend shifts

Where your employee is selected as a juror on a trial, and the trial bridges a weekend (ie sits on both the Friday before and Monday after a weekend), it may not be appropriate for your employee to work their weekend shifts. The underpinning principle to be considered is the juror's health and well-being, which includes days worked consecutively. Jury service is considered work when assessing these obligations.

Where it is not appropriate for your employee to work their weekend shifts, you must still pay them the difference between their jury payment and what they would have earned had they worked. This includes penalties, allowances, and loadings.

 

Excuse or deferral

While your employee does have the option to request to be excused or deferred, they are under no obligation to do so, and you cannot pressure, coerce, or force them to.

Work is generally not considered a valid reason to be excused from jury service. However, work considerations may be taken into account when deferring your employee's jury service, such as peak trading periods, staff leave or vacancies, and pre-booked and paid travel or training.

It should be noted only 1 deferral is typically provided for work reasons, and it's expected you refrain from scheduling work commitments for the month your employee is deferred to. You will need to make them available as summoned.