You Soon Will Earn More Money for Jury Duty

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Folks who serve as jurors at federal courthouses will soon see a pay raise — their first in a couple of decades.

The U.S. Courts, the federal court system, recently announced that the daily fee paid to jurors is rising 25 percent: from $40 to $50. This pay hike is the first for federal jurors since 1990.

The new pay rate takes effect May 7 and will apply to folks who serve on federal grand juries and federal trial juries.

The change does not apply to folks called for jury duty in state court systems — which tend to pay less, according to data compiled by the nonprofit National Center for State Courts.

The pay hike for federal jurors stems from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the budget bill that became law in late March. It set spending levels for many divisions of the federal government for the 2018 fiscal year.

The federal judiciary as a whole, which includes the U.S. Courts, received $7.1 billion in discretionary appropriations. According to a press release from the U.S. Courts, that’s an increase of 2.7 percent, or $184 million, from the prior year and is enough money to fund all judiciary accounts for the current fiscal year.

U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo, a federal trial judge based in Illinois, tells the Chicago Tribune that the judiciary hopes the pay hike will ease the financial burden of serving as a juror, thereby making juries more reflective of the U.S. population.

Castillo explained:

“More diverse juries is what we’re all after.”

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are not required to pay employees for time they did not work, including while out for jury duty. So, jury pay is the extent of the income that some folks receive for days when they cannot work due to being called for jury duty or serving as a juror.

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