News story

A better deal for reservists and employers

Radical reforms bringing a raft of new benefits for reservists and their employers come into effect today, 1 October.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Royal Marines commandos drag an 'injured' colleague to safety during a training exercise (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Sean Clee, Crown copyright]
Royal Marines regulars and reservists training together (library image)

The changes will mean that reservists have greater opportunities to serve their country as they can now be mobilised for any purpose that regular troops can be used.

Reservists already make a vital contribution to the armed forces and these changes mean that they are able to do more.

Now they could be called out to assist in protecting the Falkland Islands or help to stabilise fragile regions around the world by training the armed forces of countries such as Mali.

Reservist soldiers from 7th Battalion The Rifles
Reservist soldiers from 7th Battalion The Rifles helping to dam a breach in the Kennet and Avon Canal (library image) [Picture: Corporal Richard Cave RLC, Crown copyright]

Reserve units and sub-units are also more likely to be used as formed bodies, offering greater opportunities for leadership and comradeship.

Importantly, the Ministry of Defence policy to take into account the personal and employment circumstances of individual reservists will continue; that is, short of war or national emergency, we will use those reservists who are willing and able, or who have a particular skill set that is urgently required.

The new legislation also offers extra financial benefits for organisations which employ reservists.

RAF reservists of 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron
RAF reservists of 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron on parade (library image) [Picture: Corporal Alex Scott RAF, Crown copyright]

From today, small and medium-sized enterprises and equivalent-sized charities and partnerships will enjoy up to £500-a-month when any reservist employee is mobilised.

These payments are on top of the existing financial assistance that covers the cost of replacing reservists when they are mobilised and the retraining costs when they return to work.

Reservists will also enjoy better protection in the workplace and will be exempt from the 2-year qualifying period in bringing unfair dismissal claims to an employment tribunal if the reason, or primary reason, for dismissal is because they are a reserve.

Soldiers from 75 Engineer Regiment
Soldiers from 75 Engineer Regiment taking part in vehicle camouflage training (library image) [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]

Minister for Reserves Julian Brazier said:

Reservists are playing an increasingly important and wider role in defence, working and training alongside their regular counterparts.

In recognition of their crucial contribution, from today, the law governing call-out powers will change and new legislation will help protect reservists, where necessary, within the workplace.

There are also enhanced financial benefits for small and medium-sized businesses with employees on operations. Reservists will enjoy a much wider range of opportunities and better remuneration.

A Royal Naval reservist practising rope-throwing
A Royal Naval reservist practising rope-throwing (library image) [Picture: Crown copyright]

Major General John Crackett, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets) and the highest ranking reservist in the Ministry of Defence, said:

As a result of these measures, reservists will be able to serve alongside regulars on any kind of operations. So they will see more varied and more exciting roles.

It is right that we are offering reservists the opportunity to do more while giving them job protection and financial assistance both for them and for their employer.

The UK reserve forces play a vital part in our nation’s defence. Find out how you can get involved and what is on offer for reserves.

Published 1 October 2014