Do we have to pay employees for jury duty?

Q We recently hired two employees who now have jury duty. We don't pay benefits for the first 90 days of employment. Are we required to pay them for the time on jury duty if they haven't been here for 90 days?

A Under both federal and Wyoming law, employers generally are not required to pay nonexempt employees for time not worked, including time spent on jury duty. If you have a policy or agreement that provides pay for nonexempt employees while they serve on a jury, you are going above what is legally required, and you should comply with the terms of the policy or agreement. Exempt employees serving on a jury should be paid their full weekly salary unless they are out for an entire workweek and perform no work from a remote location. Deducting pay from exempt employees' salaries for partial-week jury duty could cause them to lose their exempt status.

In your situation, it appears that your policy provides pay to nonexempt employees who have jury duty only after they have been employed for 90 days. Consequently, under your policy, you are not required to pay new nonexempt employees for jury duty if they have been employed for less than 90 days.

Q One of our employees left early one day for a toothache and went to the dentist that day. Turns out he has to have a root canal, which will require several appointments. Would that time qualify for protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

A Great question! For your employee's absence to qualify for FMLA leave, his toothache and root canal would have to meet the requirements of a "serious health condition" under the FMLA. For FMLA purposes, "serious health condition" means an illness, injury, impairment, or a physical or mental issue that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider.

While it appears your employee may need continuing treatment to resolve his tooth issue, FMLA regulations specifically exclude routine dental or orthodontia problems from the definition of serious health condition unless complications arise. Restorative dental work following an injury or removal of cancerous growths may qualify for FMLA protection if the employee is eligible for leave, but that does not appear to apply in this situation. So unless your employee experiences complications from his dental work, time off for a routine root canal and follow-up appointments does not qualify for FMLA leave.

We want to hear from you! Do you have perplexing employment law issues that you would like us to address? Each month, the editors will answer questions submitted by our readers. Please e-mail your questions to Joanna Vilos at jvilos@hollandhart.com, and we'll make every effort to answer them in upcoming newsletters. Read More...