Expert's View

Have you ever been required to be in court either as a juror in a judicial proceeding? Or have you been called as a witness in one in which the federal, state, or local government is a party? If you haven’t, you may be. And if you are called, you need to know how the government handles it.

If you are summoned as a witness in an official capacity on behalf of the federal government, you are on official duty, not court leave. In you are called as a juror or witness, you are entitled to paid time off without charge to annual leave. However, before you do that, you’ll need to let your supervisor know that you’ll be gone and keep him or her informed about how long you’ll be away so he or she can work around your absence. If you normally work nights or weekends, your agency may be able to adjust your schedule to avoid undue hardship on you.


If you are paid a fee for your service as a juror or witness, you’ll have to reimburse your agency. However, if what you receive is essentially compensation for expenses, such as transportation, you may keep the money and not reimburse your agency.

It probably seems obvious, but if you go to court as a defendant, to accompany a family member or friend, or simply to observe a particular case, you are not entitled to court leave. You would have to take annual leave or leave without pay. In either case, you’d need to have your absence approved by your supervisor.