Do you have to top up salaries for jury service?

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In New Zealand, jurors receive a fairly paltry level of compensation and often find themselves out-of-pocket after they’re called up – so do employers have an obligation to help out?

Carl Blake is a senior associate with Simpson Grierson – he says there’s no legal requirement to top up fees but some employers opt to do so anyway.

“There is no statutory requirement to make up the difference but a number of employers elect to do so – this is just a matter for negotiation between employers and employees,” he tells HRD.

Of the employment agreements he’s seen, Blake says around 20 per cent have included specific measures to reimburse staff for jury service. Of those 20 per cent, Blake says many employers choose to do so because they believe it’s an important social service.

“With people being so busy in this day and age, it’s a lot harder for juries to be populated and it’s very common for there to be a real difficulty in getting a jury together,” he says.

“Some employers like to think that they’re part of the solution to that by assisting the employee and ensuring they’re not disadvantaged in any way.”

Currently, jurors receive $62 every day for the first five days they attend court – on the 6th and subsequent days, their compensation jumps to $80 per day.

According to the Ministry of Justice, jurors also receive additional pay for staying late and can claim back expenses for travel and childcare. They can also apply for a government top-up if they can prove they will suffer financial hardship as a result of serving.

 

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