If you have an employee who has been selected for jury service in Victoria, there are a number of responsibilities and obligations you need to follow.

What you need to know

  • The Juries Act 2000 (Vic) supersedes the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and all enterprise bargaining agreements and workplace contracts
  • You cannot prevent your employee from undertaking jury service or not
  • You must make your employee available for jury service
  • Jury service is typically longer than 1 day
  • You must pay your employee (details below)
  • You cannot terminate, threaten, or otherwise prejudice the employment of an employee attending jury service
  • You can request a Certificate of Attendance and remittance advice from your employee at the end of their jury service

Below is an overview of your responsibilities and obligations at each stage of the jury selection process.

 

Random selection

Notice of Selection

Your employee is randomly selected for jury service from the Victorian electoral roll.

They are sent a Notice of Selection informing them of this fact.

Eligibility Form

An Eligibility Form will accompany the Notice of Selection. This is a questionnaire to determine whether your employee are both eligible and available for jury service within a certain period. The period during which we may summons them typically covers several months, however they will not be required for that entire time.

Your obligations and options at this stage

Your employee may or may not choose to disclose their Notice of Selection to you at this time. If they do, here are your obligations and options.

Obligations

  • Advise your employee you will make them available for jury service upon them receiving a summons
  • Advise your employee you will adhere to the requirements for pay set out in section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic), which can be found here

Options

  • Raise operational issues with your employee such as peak trading periods and staffing levels, and ask them to take those issues into consideration

Prohibitions

There are a number of things you are legally prohibited from doing if your employee is randomly selected for jury service.

Prohibitions

  • Pressure, coerce, or otherwise try to compel your employee to request to be deferred or excused on any grounds
  • Terminate, threaten to terminate, or otherwise prejudice your employee's employment because of their jury service 

While you cannot prevent your employee from attending jury service or pressure them to request to be deferred or excused, you can have an open conversation with them about any operational issues likely to impact their availability period. This might be that it is your peak trading time, and you will therefore be extremely busy, or that staffing levels are unusually low due to vacancies or leave, making it difficult to cover your employee's absence.

However, your employee is under no obligations to act on these considerations.

 

Summons

Summons

If your employee is deemed both eligible and available for jury service, they will receive a summons 2-3 weeks prior to a summons date. They must inform you of their summons date as soon as possible.

Duration

It's important to note jury service will likely be longer than 1 day. The average length of time of a jury trial is up to 2 weeks, and you should consider this when making your employee available for jury service. If selected as a juror, the trial will begin immediately, and your employee will need to attend every day the trial sits.

Therefore, it's not acceptable for you to expect your employee to fulfil work commitments in the days immediately following their summons date.

Change of summons date

After 4.30pm the business day prior to their summons date, your employee will need to check whether they will be required to attend as summonsed.

Due to the needs of the court, it's possible we may need to shift your employee's summons date to the following day or another day. You will need to plan for this possibility, and if your employee's summons date is moved to another day, you will need to make them available on their new summons date.

Your obligations and options at this stage

You employee must inform you of their summons date as soon as possible. When they do, here are your obligations and options.

Obligations

  • Make your employee available for their summons date, and up to 2 weeks after
  • Pay your employee in accordance with section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic), which can be found here

Options

  • Raise operational issues with your employee such as peak trading periods and staffing levels, and ask them to take those issues into consideration
  • Raise work commitments which have already been booked and paid for on or in the 2 weeks following their summons date, such as travel or training

Prohibitions

There are a number of things you are legally prohibited from doing if your employee is summoned for jury service.

Prohibitions

  • Pressure, coerce, or otherwise try to compel your employee to request to be deferred or excused on any grounds
  • Terminate, threaten to terminate, or otherwise prejudice your employee's employment because of their jury service
  • Refuse to make your employee available for jury service
  • Schedule travel, training, meetings, or other work commitments on or within two weeks of your employee's summons date
  • Deduct your employee's jury service from their annual, sick, or other leave
  • Refuse to abide by the pay provisions of section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic)

While you cannot prevent your employee from attending or pressure them to request to be deferred or excused, you can have an open conversation with them about work commitments or issues which occur at the same time or within a fortnight of their summons date. These could include peak trading periods, unusually low staffing levels due to vacancies or leave, pre-booked and paid work travel or training.

 

Attending jury service

Attending summons date

Your employee will not be able to leave the jury pool area throughout the day of their summons. While they will be able to use their phone, laptop, or other electronic device throughout most of the day, they will be required to turn these off completely if they are balloted to a courtroom.

Requirement to return

Even if your employee is not selected as a juror on a trial, they may be required to return the following day. If this is the case, they will be informed at the end of the day. Your employee must notify you of this as soon as possible.

Your obligations and options at this stage

Here are your obligations and options when your employee attends jury service.

Obligations

  • Ensure your employee is available for at least 2 weeks from their summons date
  • Pay your employee in accordance with section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic), which can be found here

Options

  • Your employee may wish to complete work while they wait, but are not obliged to do so

Prohibitions

There are a number of things you are legally prohibited from doing when your employee attends for jury service.

Prohibitions

  • Pressure, coerce, or otherwise try to compel your employee to request to be deferred or excused on any grounds
  • Terminate, threaten to terminate, or otherwise prejudice your employee's employment because of their jury service
  • Refuse to make your employee available for more than 1 day
  • Schedule travel, training, meetings, or other work commitments within two weeks of your employee's summons date
  • Deduct your employee's jury service from their annual, sick, or other leave
  • Refuse to abide by the pay provisions of section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic)

Those individuals attending for jury service may choose to engage in work throughout the day while they wait. However, they are under no obligation to do so, and you cannot demand or expect your employee to work while they wait, nor penalise or prejudice them in any way for not doing so.

 

Serving on a trial

First day

Your employee has the potential to be selected to serve as a juror on a trial on their summons day. If selected, the trial will begin immediately. Your employee will be able to let you know if they have been selected as a juror and the estimated length of the trial at the end of the day.

It should be noted, the estimated length of time is only a guide, and trials may go beyond this estimate. Even if this occurs, you are still required to make your employee available and continue to pay them as per section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic).

Subsequent days

Your employee will be required to attend court for every day the trial sits. Trials typically sit every consecutive business day until concluded. Weekends or public holidays are not considered sitting days.

Your obligations at this stage

Here are your obligations if your employee is selected as a juror on a trial.

Obligations

  • Ensure your employee is available for every day the trial is sitting
  • Pay your employee in accordance with section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic), which can be found here

 

Prohibitions

There are a number of things you are legally prohibited from doing if your employee is selected as a juror on a trial.

Prohibitions

  • Terminate, threaten to terminate, or otherwise prejudice your employee's employment because of their jury service
  • Refuse to make your employee available for any day the trial is sitting
  • Deduct your employee's jury service from their annual, sick, or other leave
  • Refuse to abide by the pay provisions of section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic)
  • Compel your employee to work outside of sitting hours

Court typically sits between 10am and 4.30pm on sitting days. Despite this, your employee is not required to work outside of sitting hours for the duration of the trial, and you are prohibited from compelling or trying to pressure them to do so. You can find out more about how jury service could impact work here.

 

Conclusion of service

Day of attendance

If your employee attends for jury service and is not selected as a juror on a trial, typically their service is considered concluded at the end of the day. In some cases, they may be required to return the following day.

If your employee is not selected as a juror, they can download a Certificate of Attendance verifying the dates they were required for jury service through the online Juror Portal. They will also be emailed a remittance advice for payroll purposes. They should provide either or both of these to you upon request.

Selected on a trial

If your employee is selected as a juror on a trial, their service is concluded upon the discharge of the jury. While this is generally at the end of the trial, juries are sometimes discharged earlier for a variety of reasons. In either case, your employee's jury service is considered concluded.

All individuals selected as jurors on a trial will be given a printed Certificate of Attendance covering the entire time they were serving on the trial. Remittance advices will also be emailed to them weekly, listing their jury payments for each day. They should provide either or both of these to you upon request.

Your obligations at this stage

Here are your obligations upon the conclusion of your employee's jury service.

Obligations

  • Ensure your employee returns to their usual roster, hours, or shifts
  • Ensure your employee has been paid in full for their jury service, in accordance with section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic), which can be found here

 

Prohibitions

There are a number of things you are legally prohibited from doing upon the conclusion of your employee's jury service.

Prohibitions

  • Terminate, threaten to terminate, or otherwise prejudice your employee's employment because of their jury service
  • Refuse to return your employee to their usual roster, hours, or shifts
  • Deduct your employee's jury service from their annual, sick, or other leave
  • Refuse to abide by the pay provisions of section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic)

Further information

 

Pay obligations

Jury payments are currently set at $40 per day for the first 6 days, and $80 per day thereafter.

Section 52 of the Juries Act 2000 (Vic) states that employers are legally obligated to pay their employees the difference between the amount they receive for jury service and the amount they would reasonably expect to have earned had they been at work instead. This includes any penalties, allowances, or loadings your employee would reasonably expect to have earned.

This obligation exists for the entire duration of your employee's jury service, regardless of how long it goes for.

This applies to full-time, part-time, and casual employees, but not to independent contractors.

It's important to note that in Victoria, the Juries Act 2000 (Vic) supersedes the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and all enterprise bargaining agreements and employment contracts.

Further information on pay obligations can be found here.

 

Work and jury service

Jury service is considered a full-time, Monday to Friday, for the time your employee is undertaking it. Therefore, it is not considered appropriate for anybody to be required to undertake paid employment on the same day they undertake jury service.

If your employee's jury service falls on a day they would otherwise have worked, you must make up the difference between their jury payment for that day and what they would have earned had they worked instead.

Further information on work and jury service, including how evening, night, and weekend shifts may be affected, can be found here.

 

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.

 

Length of service

It should be noted jury service is most likely to last longer than 1 day. If your employee is selected as a juror on a trial, they must attend every business day until the end of the trial.

The average length of a jury trial is up to 2 weeks. As an employer, you should be prepared for your employee to serve at least this length of time, as you would if they were on holiday or became ill.