There are no current plans to review the compensation scheme for people who serve on juries. I appreciate that the rate of allowances will not always address some jurors’ financial loss. Jury service is, of course, a public duty that most people in Scotland may be called on to perform, and I am very grateful to those who perform that important civic duty. Our allowances are comparable with those in the rest of the United Kingdom, except in relation to trials of more than five days, with the Scottish allowance being more generous.
A number of my constituents have approached me to say how inconsistent the system seems to be in relation to providing evidence of loss of earnings for people on zero-hours contracts, people on varying shift patterns, sole contractors and so on. Some of those people get only partial compensation or no compensation at all from their employers. What can the minister do to tidy up that aspect of the system and to encourage employers to be flexible and compensate people fully for loss of earnings when they carry out jury duty?
The decision whether to continue paying wages when an employee is called for jury service is entirely at the discretion of the employer. However, if an employer chooses not to pay the employee’s wage while they are serving as a juror, the employee is entitled to claim for loss of earnings, subject to stated limits. I thank Willie Coffey for raising the issue of zero-hours contracts, and I invite him to seek a meeting with me so that we can discuss the matter further.