If you’ve been called to jury duty and you’re employed, you may be wondering how to best approach the situation with your boss. After all, being on a jury can mean time away from work, and that's not always ideal.
To help you out, we’ve laid out a few simple tips for talking to your employer about jury duty.
How to tell an employer about jury duty
Talking to your boss about jury duty doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Here are a few tips for broaching the subject of jury duty with your employer:
Check your employment contract. The first thing you need to do is check your employment contract. Some employers have language in their contracts that specifically states what you are required to do if you are summoned for jury duty. In most cases, you will be required to provide your employer with documentation proving that you have been summoned for jury duty.
Talk to your boss as soon as you find out. In most cases, you will be required to serve for one trial only. However, some cases may last longer, and it's always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to telling your employer about your upcoming commitment. If you know in advance that you will need to take multiple days off work for jury duty, make sure to let your boss know well ahead of time so they can make the necessary arrangements.
Formally let your boss and HR manager know via email. This will help protect both you and your employer in case there are any misunderstandings later on. Include the dates of your jury service in your request so that your employer can plan accordingly.
Be prepared to present documentation. In some cases, employers may require employees to provide proof of their jury duty service before granting them time off from work. If this is the case, be sure to ask the court administrator for a copy of your summon letter or other documentation stating that you are required to serve on a jury.
Explain how long you'll be gone. In most cases, jury duty will only last a day or two, but there are always exceptions. If you know ahead of time approximately how long you'll be needed, share that information with your boss.
Keep communication lines open. Once you've told your employer about your upcoming jury duty commitment, stay in touch with them throughout the process so they know what's going on and when they can expect you back at work. For example, if the trial ends up lasting longer than expected, let your boss know as soon as possible so they can make alternative plans accordingly.
Discuss possible arrangements for making up work time. Depending on your job and the nature of the trial, there may be some flexibility in terms of when you fulfill your jury duty obligation. If that's the case, talk to your boss about possibly coming in early or working remotely so you can still meet deadlines and avoid falling behind.
Jury duty is an important responsibility, but it doesn't have to be disruptive to your job if you handle the situation appropriately. By following these tips, you can minimize any potential problems and ensure that both your employer and your civic duties are taken care of.