Supporting Scheduled Absences for Jury Duty and Military Reservists

July 17, 2019 | 1,812 views

Supporting Scheduled Absences for Jury Duty and Military Reservists
Supporting Scheduled Absences for Jury Duty and Military Reservists

As business owners, we are part of the fabric of our communities. We provide jobs, we serve residents, and we often live where we work. Many times, we have employees who also contribute to society by performing important civic duties in the form of jury duty and military reserve duty.

Scheduling around the absences and time commitments created by military reserves and jury status can be a delicate process. While these civic activities are commendable, they can also be very inconvenient for an employer and the employee. We must accommodate them in the best possible way, of course, and having a scheduling process in place is wise. Scheduling people and training for jury duty and military leave can be simplified with a few simple steps.

Set a Clear Policy

Whether an unexpected jury summons arrives in the mail, or a monthly weekend of training for service personnel in the reserves, you must know the dates in order to plan and schedule appropriately. For jury duty, the summons day is often flexible, and prompt notice will ease any scheduling woes. For reservists, monthly weekend training and longer annual training exercises have dates that are known in advance. Make sure your policy requires timely notice to management so that you can plan.

Discuss How to Share the Work

For a day or two or even a week, finding replacements for employees isn’t so difficult. There is usually someone who wants more hours or is willing to take on additional responsibilities as part of the team. For longer leaves, sharing the work with many hands or through a replacement will satisfy the organization’s needs. With enough notice, you will have the luxury of ensuring that a temporary replacement is trained and capable of filling in successfully.

Review Benefits Continuation

While many companies pay employees full pay for up to two weeks of jury duty, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not require it, and most hourly employees do not expect it. Even so, nearly 20% of states do require payment of wages, so be sure you are in compliance and know your responsibilities.

Benefits, especially medical, are often a concern to employees who are on leave. If the employee has benefits, these will continue as long as the premiums continue. Being on a jury or away on military leave is stressful for employees too, so schedule regular updates with them so they and their family know that all is well with their healthcare.

For more information, review the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). It has strict requirements for employers, mostly for longer-term missions. While it is useful to know, most scheduling and personnel requirements for jury summons and military reservists are easy to meet if given enough notice to cover shorter-term absences.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.   

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