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Handling Pay and Time Off: Jury Duty and Election Day

November 21, 2016 | posted by Abacus Payroll
Payroll for Election Day and Jury Duty

Paying your employees for time during which they aren’t actively in the office may be a strange concept—yet you’ll find yourself doing exactly that on certain occasions.
 
Whether it be routine jury duty or Election Day, you’ll want to make sure you know the ins and outs of handling paid time off.
 
 
 

Election Day

Do I have to pay my employees for time off to vote?

Technically, you have no federal obligation to provide your employees with time off (paid or otherwise) to vote; however, between specific states’ requirements and general employee morale, it may be in your best interest to provide your employees with leave to vote. This is an instance in which you’ll need to consult your state’s legislature to determine the leave specifics (e.g., paid or unpaid).
 
For example, Maryland legislature dictates that employers must afford their employees two hours of paid leave to vote, while New Jersey has no laws in place to moderate employer behavior whatsoever. Keep in mind, however, that most states have laws set in place to safeguard employees against intimidation or harassment regarding their decisions to vote.
 
The bottom line for handling time to vote is as simple as this: while you don’t need to pay your employees for the time needed to vote, you should absolutely anticipate and allow for that time.

Jury Duty

How do I handle compensation when an employee has jury duty?

Fortunately, the criteria surrounding jury duty are a little clearer: both federal and state legislature state that you must provide your employees with jury duty leave, with state legislature usually adding provisions for things like pay specifications. While this can be inconvenient due to jury duty’s unpredictable nature, you can offset the inconvenience by creating a policy that adheres to both your state’s laws and your company’s needs.
 
Your first move when creating a policy should be to check on your state’s stance on jury duty. Some states, such as New Jersey, don’t require employers to pay their staff for time off. Similarly, however, almost every state specifically requires employers to treat employees who have jury duty fairly and without bias. Your policy should also address the following concerns:

  • Whether you treat jury duty leave as paid or unpaid—most states do not require you to provide paid leave for jury duty, so odds are that this decision will be strictly up to you
  • What to do with funds received from the court—for example, you can require employees to report the amount they made from jury duty
  • How to fill in for an absent employee—As always, the show must go on; determine the best possible way for your remaining employees to pick up the slack
  • What documentation you’ll need as proof—generally speaking, an employee’s summons should suffice.

Obviously, your company’s culture will come into play here as well.
 
 
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of perfect payroll: Abacus Payroll is here to help make this process an easy one. Rather than stressing about paid time off, give us a call today at (856) 667-6225 for a no-obligation quote!
 


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Reminder – Abacus Payroll’s HR Help Center is an online portal and database that can clarify questions such as this, especially when the circumstances may vary from state to state. Email hr@abacuspay.com today for more information on our HR Help Center.

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About the Author: Abacus Payroll

Abacus Payroll, Inc. is a leading provider of payroll solutions for businesses of all sizes. Whether yours is a family-owned small business or a national corporation, we provide payroll, tax and other financial services on time and at an affordable price.

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