Government consults on the future of the UK's Reserve Forces

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The Government has issued a consultation paper on the future of the UK’s Reserve Forces. The consultation document includes a specific section on relationships with employers and states that it will require 'greater assurance that the reserves will be available for training and deployment when needed'. Many of our members employ reservists and we would welcome your views to feed into our response to the consultation. The deadline is 18 January 2013.

The Foreword to the Consultation Paper states that the aim is for a more open employment relationship with employers ‘tailored to reflect the different benefits and impacts Reserve Service can have on different types of employer’. The consultation document also has a dedicated section entitled ‘Relationships with Employers’.

The key proposals which impact on employers are:

  • To increase openness so that the employer knows that an employee is a reservist and to ensure that does not prejudice employment prospects.
  • Introducing a voluntary charter for employers of reservists.
  • Considering anti-discrimination legislation if there is evidence of disadvantage to the reservist in the workplace.
  • Increasing the number of days that army reservists are required to train to 40 days per annum (an increase from the current 35).
  • Creating a tiered recognition system, based on a 'Kitemark' approach, to encourage employers to support reserve service.
  • Considering the scope for linking civilian employers' apprenticeships with reserve service.
  • Financial incentives, such as tax breaks, for employers that are willing to employ and retain more reserve troops.

The routine liability for most reservists will be for no more than one six-month deployment every five years plus associated training, recuperation and post-deployment leave.

One of the key questions posed in the consultation document concerns the type and level of support required for employers to minimise any impact of the absence of their reservist employees.

Next steps

The Ministry of Defence is seeking responses to this consultation by 18 January 2013. If you would like to input into EEF’s response, please contact Tim Thomas at tthomas@eef.org.uk.

The government will then publish a summary of consultation responses and set out its final proposals in Spring 2013.

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