Bowie & Jensen LLC attorney Michael Smith testified against HB599 on behalf of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce in a recent reading before the Judicial Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates. 

On January 31st Maryland Delegates Glenn and Conoway introduced HB599 a bill which would require companies with 10 or more employees to compensate employees for work time lost as a result of responding to a jury duty summons. 

The State already compensates jurors a per diem of $15 a day and trial jurors are entitled to a per diem of $50 a day after 5 days of service.   Under HB599 an employer would be required to pay the employee the difference between their per diem amount and their average daily pay for each day of jury duty.

Small businesses are already impacted when an employee is summoned for jury duty.  Employees at small businesses are often “jacks of all trades” performing a myriad of daily responsibilities; thus their absence has a greater impact on a business’s operational efficiency.  

If this bill is passed, small employers will incur more unnecessary costs on top of lost productivity due to compensating employees summoned for jury duty. 

In the hearing Michael Smith contested that, “The court rules should be changed to pay jurors more than the minimal amount now being paid by the state and federal governments for each day of jury service. It would be unfair to effectively shift that financial obligation to primarily small employers when the taxpayers ought to bear it.  Passing the bill would only reinforce the notion that Maryland is not a business-friendly regulatory environment.”

Allegany, Harford, and Montgomery counties; Baltimore City; and the City of Havre de Grace all each advise that employees already receive paid leave for jury duty, so the bill has no fiscal impact on those jurisdictions.  Local expenditures may increase minimally for any jurisdiction that does not currently provide pay for jury service.  

Bowie & Jensen is a leading business law firm representing clients in all types of business matters. Bowie & Jensen’s practice areas include Litigation, Transactions, Commercial Real Estate, Construction Law, Employment Law, Entertainment Law, Estates and Trusts, Intellectual Property, Internet, Technology & Privacy, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Corporate Tax Law. Contact Michael Smith at for more information.