What are Jury Duty Wages?

Lainie Petersen

Jury duty wages are payments made to those who serve on jury duty. The amount of these wages paid depends on the jurisdiction in which the jury serves. In some places, employers are required to continue paying regular wages or salary, at least temporarily, to their employees while they serve on jury duty. In other places, employers are not required to compensate employees while on jury duty, though they are forbidden from firing or demoting them, so jury duty wages may be the only source of income for some jurors during their service.

Jury duty wages vary, depending on jurisdiction.
Jury duty wages vary, depending on jurisdiction.

In countries that offer trial by jury, jury members are often selected from the general public. These individuals typically have jobs and families, making jury service something of a disruption in their lives. Most governments regard jury duty as an essential duty of any citizen, thus requiring private individuals to periodically serve on juries. Jury duty wages are thus intended to compensate jurors for the time and expense of being in court. As a general rule, however, these wages are not particularly high and may not fully compensate the juror for what he might have earned at his regular job.

Jurors will likely receive compensation from the government for jury service if they served for more than one day.
Jurors will likely receive compensation from the government for jury service if they served for more than one day.

The amount of jury duty wages varies by jurisdiction. In some cases, employers voluntarily choose to supplement jury duty wages by continuing to pay those on jury duty what they ordinarily would be making if they were still at work, minus their jury duty wages. Federal employees in the United States who serve on federal juries continue to receive their regular salary or wages during their jury service in lieu of jury duty wages. Some localities, such as Connecticut and New York in the United States, require private employers to continue paying full wages or salary to full-time employees for a limited amount of time during the employee's service on jury duty.

Jury duty wages are intended to compensate jurors for the time and expense of being in court.
Jury duty wages are intended to compensate jurors for the time and expense of being in court.

While laws in many places forbid employers from terminating or taking any other adverse action toward an employee because of jury duty, these laws may not require the employer to continue paying the employee. As jury duty wages are often relatively low compared to what many people can expect to make while working, financial hardship can be a concern. If this is a problem for a specific juror, she may be able to request release from jury duty, either by the courthouse staff that calls in potential jurors or from a judge.

The penalty for failing to attend jury duty differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
The penalty for failing to attend jury duty differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

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