Taking Time Off Work for Jury Duty: State Laws

Most states give employees the right to take time off work to serve on a jury -- and prohibit employers from punishing them for doing so.

Almost every state prohibits employers from firing or disciplining employees for serving on a jury or missing work for jury duty. After all, the jury system wouldn't work if no employees were available to serve on a jury. This is a situation in which the law recognizes that our obligations as citizens must occasionally trump our obligations as employees.

The general rule, which applies in most states, is that employees must be allowed to take time off work for jury duty or jury service. Employees may not be disciplined, fired, demoted, or otherwise treated negatively because they have taken jury leave. A few states go further and make it illegal for employers to discourage or intimidate an employee from serving on a jury, a practice that's all too common.

For most employees, the most important question about jury duty is whether they'll be paid for their time. Generally, unless your company has promised to pay employees for time spent on jury duty, you aren't entitled to be paid by your employer for leave taken to serve on a jury. However, some states require employers to let employees use their accrued vacation or other paid time off while on jury duty. And some states require at least some payment for this time off; if your state isn't listed below, it doesn't require paid time off for jury duty. Contact your state labor department for more information.

Learn more about Wages and Hours.

Alabama: Full-time employees are entitled to their usual pay.

Colorado: All employees are entitled to their regular wages (but only up to $50 per day) for their first three days of jury duty.

Connecticut: Full-time employees are entitled to their regular wages for the first five days of jury duty (afterwards, the state pays up to $50 per day).

District of Columbia: Full-time employees are entitled to their regular wages for the first five days of jury duty.

Louisiana: Regular employees are entitled to one full day of pay for jury service.

Massachusetts: All employees are entitled to their regular wages for the first three days of jury duty (afterwards, the state pays $50 per day).

Nebraska: All employees are entitled to their usual wages less any compensation (other than expenses) from the court.

Tennessee: All employees who have been employed for at least six months are entitled to their regular wages, less jury fees. (Applies only to employers with at least five employees.)

Learn more about Taking Time Off Work.

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