Most Tennessee employers are required to pay employees their “usual compensation” for jury duty. But, what time is included in the phrase “jury duty” for the purpose of paying employees who serve?
That question was the subject of a recent Tennessee Attorney General opinion. The Attorney General clarified that, under Tennessee law, jury duty includes the travel time to and from court to report for jury service, even if the employee’s “usual compensation” at his/her job does not include travel time.
Based on Tennessee law, a juror is entitled to an excused absence from work and, for certain employers (unless have less than five employees) to payment in the amount of their “usual compensation” for the time attributed to jury service (unless the employee has been employed for less than six months). Attorney General Robert Cooper noted that the compensation provision of the law expressly states that the employer is not required to pay more than the employee’s time “spent serving and traveling to and from jury duty.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 22-4-106(b) (emphasis added). Thus, in an opinion that is not surprising given this statutory language, commuting time to and from court is included in an employee’s jury duty pay.