As this is posting, (thank you scheduler) I’ll be arriving at my local court house to perform the civic duty of jury duty. It’s an interesting civic duty; one that’s is both afforded us if we are ever persecuted, and one that we must perform for those that are. But, what is the cost of doing your civic duty?
In the letter I received, it states that I’ll be paid $25 if my service is four hours or less and $50 if I’m there longer than $50. I’ll also be paid $50 for each day after the first day. My employment cannot be threatened due to serving on a jury (that’s good), but my employer doesn’t have to pay me for time spent away from work while serving on a jury.
In a very basic math sense, the cost of serving on a jury, then, is my pay for however many hours of work I miss minus the fees I’ll be paid for serving. Different employers have different policies for jury duty as well. My previous employer’s policy was that you could serve on a jury and be paid your wages provided you turned over your jury duty check to the company when you received it. That’s a pretty good policy. My current employer allows for unpaid time off to serve on a jury only. Not as good of a policy. I can take vacation time during that time so that I don’t lose any pay if I have it available.
As it happens, I don’t really have any vacation time to use. So, I’ll be going without pay for as long as I have to serve. It’s not exactly ideal. But, I do get something for it at least. Unfortunately, if I’m there a full 8 hours, it’s far less than minimum wage. A token amount, really, to help offset the lost opportunity to earn my wage.
Have you served on a jury? Is the pay the same everywhere, or does it differ by location?
img credit:zzpza, on flickr