[Guide] Jury Duty Leave: Paid or Non-Paid?

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One of the most important parts of Hong Kong’s legal system is their trial by jury. The jury helps the judge arrive at a decision when holding a trial, agreeing on a verdict they all agree with based on the evidence presented to them. The jurors can be anyone, but in most cases, the jurors are not legal experts so they are given clear directions and guidelines on what to do and what a certain case is about by the presiding trial judge.

Jurors in Hong Kong are often between the ages of 21 to 65 and are of sound mind to make rational decisions. This means the majority of Hong Kong’s population are eligible to be jurors, and in line with this, the government has created the Jury Ordinance, which protects their rights and puts one’s jury duty as priority above all else. 

The Jury Ordinance is especially helpful for those in the workforce. The ordinance states that employees are to prioritize jury duty above other work, as serving as a juror is viewed to be a civic duty they must fulfill. Chosen jurors are not allowed to deny a court summons unless they file a request to be exempted. Otherwise, failing to attend a hearing as a juror will be counted as an offense. This means that if they get called to court on a work day, they are legally allowed to take a leave from work in order to act as a juror. 

Employers are not allowed to deny employees jury duty leave, nor are they allowed to deduct from their employees’ salaries and leave allowances in exchange for said leave. The ordinance requires employers to grant the leave as needed and to not deduct any pay or leaves from their employees, thus granting them what is essentially a paid leave. Jurors will also be given an allowance of $875 for each day they serve in court. In the same vein, employers who discriminate or terminate employees for fulfilling their duties as jurors will be considered committing a crime and will be fined heavily (currently $25,000) and to imprisonment for 3 months.

All employers are then required by law to allow you on that leave without repercussions. However, they might have a hard time putting in jury duty leaves in the company’s system, as said leaves will not incur any deductions from an employee’s pay and other leaves. This can be tedious if ever they are still using an old system to track employee compensations and benefits, as they would be required to manually sort out jury duty leaves along with the other leaves such as holiday leaves and sick leaves. 

Managing leaves can be something very hassling for many. It would be understandable to think that some employers might not want to deal with the act of managing and organizing leaves per reason and type. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

To help with this, Workstem offers a Leave Module where employers can customize a holiday or paid leave to be a “Jury Duty Leave.”  When an employee needs to take this kind of leave, all the employer needs to do is upload the court summons as proof of jury duty leave and Workstem will do the rest. 

Workstem not only retains employees’ attendance records, but also makes sure that the employees’ salaries will not be deducted, ensuring that the company operates in accordance with the laws.

Applications like Workstem can easily help with other management issues in a company, especially when it comes to sorting leaves. With Workstem, businesses can save time in their operations, and instead, use this time to focus on reaching new heights. 

(The article on this website is intended to be for reference and general information purposes only. Workstem does not warrant or represent that such information is complete, accurate or up to date. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of law or court practice, or a substitute for professional legal advice.)

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