Military Reservists get more employment protection

At the beginning of July 2013 the Ministry of Defence published a whitepaper aimed at helping them plan their resourcing requirements when reserve forces are deployed on operations.  The whitepaper made several suggestions relating to reservists normal employment and made a commitment to provide employers with fewer than 250 staff “more notice [of when their staff will be deployed on operations] so employers are able to plan for the absences of their reservist employees.”

However, it did not specify what the notice period would be. Currently employers should be given at least 28 days’ notice. The MoD said they wished to work towards a situation where the MoD, rather than the reservist, would inform the employer when they were going to be deployed.

Currently there is a maximum time limit that a reservist can spend on a tour of duty (from 1st October this increases to 40 days per year and the maximum length of call-up period is increased from 9 months to 12 months), and reservists can only be mobilised once every 3 years.

Reservists are already protected, under the Reserves Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985, against dismissal solely or mainly on account of any duties they have to undertake – here dismissal would be a criminal offence and protection exists irrespective of whether formal notification of mobilisation has been given to the employer.

However, at the moment, reservists cannot generally claim for unfair dismissal (including redundancy) in an employment tribunal until they have the minimum period of continuous service (2 years from April 2012). As periods of mobilisation generally do not count towards continuous employment it can take reservists longer to gain this protection. We look at what this means in our article here.

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