Employees being called for Jury Service can be an unwelcome but at times unavoidable situation for employers.
In Ireland, every person aged 18 years or above and whose name appears on the Register of Dail Electors is eligible for Jury Service – subject to the following exceptions:
- Those involved in the administration of justice;
- Those who are unable to read;
- Those who have a long-term impairment as a result of which it is impracticable for them to serve on a Jury.
A person is disqualified from Jury Service if they have been convicted of a serious offence in Ireland, if they have served 5 years or more in prison, if they have served at least 3 months in prison in the preceding 10 years, or if they are living in Ireland, but not an Irish citizen.
Alternatively, a person may be (but cannot guarantee to be) excused from Jury Duty by the Registrar if they meet the following criteria:
- Aged 65 years or over;
- Those involved directly in Government;
- Those who provide an important community service – such as practicing doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists;
- School teachers or university lecturers;
- Those who have served on a jury within the last 3 years;
- Those who have been excused from Jury Service by a Judge for a set period, where that period has yet to expire.
If an employee is contacted by way of Summons by a County Registrar, that employee is obliged to attend for Jury Service on a specified date. It is an offence punishable by a fine for a person to fail to attend for Jury Service without a reasonable excuse.
Employers must accommodate the Summons of an employee and permit that employee to time-off work to fulfill their duty – as per Section 29 of the Juries Act 1976. Employees undertaking Jury Service are entitled to be paid their usual wage by their employer for the duration of their service. Employees also maintain all their employment rights during such a period.
To ensure the Service is genuine, employers can request the employee provide them with a Certificate of Attendance, which the employee can request from the Jury Office. Where an employee attends the Court but is not called for Jury Service they are required to return to work. Employers can request employees to provide a certificate of attendance that can be obtained from the Court Clerk to confirm employees’ attendance.
If an employer fails to afford an employee their rights under the Juries Act 1976, that employee can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.
If you have any questions in relation to Jury service, please don’t hesitate to contact the advice line on +353 (0)1 886 0350.