If you serve on a jury, you may be entitled to jury duty pay, depending on how long your service lasts, and if you’re serving in a state or federal court. Employees of the federal government, however, are not eligible to receive jury duty pay. They only receive their regular salary for the duration of their jury obligations.
Federal Jury Duty Pay
If you serve on a jury in federal court, you receive $40 a day. This pay goes up to $50 a day after serving 10 days on a petit jury or after serving 45 days on a grand jury. The federal government will also reimburse your reasonable transportation and parking expenses. If you have to stay overnight as a result of serving on a jury, the federal government gives you a meal and lodging allowance. The federal government doesn’t require employers to compensate their employees during jury service.
State Jury Duty Pay
How much you earn for jury duty in a state court depends on the state and the length of your service. Trial jurors in Massachusetts, for instance, are not paid for the first three days of service. However, Massachusetts requires your employer to pay you your regular salary during these three days. Starting with the fourth day of your service, Massachusetts pays trial jurors $50 a day and no longer requires employers to pay an employee’s regular salary. Tennessee requires employers to pay employees during their jury duty starting with the first day of service, but allows them to reduce their regular salary by the amount they earn as jurors. California does not require employers to pay employees during their jury duty but strongly urges them to do so.
Other Employer Responsibilities
Your employer may not be legally obligated to pay you during your jury duty, but federal and state laws prohibit an employer from firing, harassing or taking other such actions against an employee who is called to serve on a jury. An employer who does so in Massachusetts, for example, can be fined and otherwise penalized.
Who Can Serve
Though government employees do not receive jury duty pay, most must still serve if called. To serve, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old. You must also be able to read, write and understand English. Federal law exempts members of the armed forces on active duty, members of professional fire and police departments, and public officers of federal, state and local governments from serving on a jury. Some states also exempt residents from serving for other reasons. Massachusetts, for example, exempts you from serving if you’ve done so within the past three years or if you’ve been convicted of a felony within the past seven years.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.