All employees are entitled to take community service leave to attend jury duty or for activities supporting voluntary emergency services.
Community service leave is unpaid, except for jury duty.
You are entitled to take community service leave while you are participating in the activity and for a reasonable amount of travel and rest time. There is no limit to the amount of community service leave you can take.
Before taking community service leave you must let your employer know as soon as possible:
- When you will be taking community leave
- How long you expect to be on community leave
You may be asked to provide evidence that you are entitled to take community service leave. Contact your union for advice if you believe you have been unfairly prevented from taking community service leave.
Voluntary emergency services
Your right to take community service leave will depend on who you are volunteering for and the type of activity you will be doing.
To be eligible for community service leave you must be volunteering for a recognised emergency management body, such as the Country Fire Authority (CFA) or the State Emergency Service (SES). A recognised emergency management body includes:
- A body that has a role under a government prepared emergency/natural disaster plan
- A fire-fighting, civil defence or rescue body
- Any other body involved in responding to emergencies or natural disasters
You can only use community service leave for approved activities if all the following conditions are met:
- The activity is in response to a natural disaster or other emergency
- You are doing the activity on a volunteer basis
- You were requested to do the activity
- You are a member of, or associated with, a recognised emergency management body
You are entitled to leave for time you are on jury duty. For the first 10 days of jury duty you are entitled to 'make-up pay'. This means that your employer must pay you the difference between what you are paid for jury duty and what your base rate of pay would have been had you worked. Any leave for jury duty over 10 days is unpaid.
In addition, some states and territories have their own laws for jury duty which provide for greater benefits.
Contact your union for more information about what you are entitled to while on jury duty.
Funding for this factsheet was provided by:
- the Victorian Government as part of the uTech project; and
- the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.