In Focus: Future Reserves 2020 A Consultation PaperThis article is featured in the latest In Focus.
Use of Reservists during the Olympics: Reservists will make up approximately 15% of Defence's contribution to the safety and security of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Support to the Olympics will be an important task for Defence in 2012, but it will not divert them from their core business and main effort. During the Olympics, Defence will maintain its commitment to the protection of the UK, to current operations in Afghanistan, and to other standing commitments worldwide, including the ability to respond to the unexpected.
It has been normal practice in recent Olympics for military to support safety and security. The UK’s Defence contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed at other recent Games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been fully involved in Olympic security planning work and the Government has agreed that the Armed Forces will provide the civilian authorities with support, making the best use of the UK’s resources.
Defence is preparing to contribute up to 13,500 personnel over the Games period as a whole in order to support the Police, and other civil and Olympic authorities, in the delivery of a safe and secure Games. Approximately 1,750 - 2,100 of these Defence personnel are expected to be Reservists.
Wherever possible the priority will be to minimise the impact on employers and where possible to mobilise those Reservists that have a more flexible situation. Therefore the MOD will continue to apply its policy of Intelligent Selection, designed to identify those Reservists with the training, skills and availability for mobilisation, in order to minimise the impact of mobilisation upon the individual, their family and employer. The dialogue with a Reservist’s employer is an important part of Intelligent Selection and is undertaken by the Reservist’s local unit, supported by central and regional organisations, such as SaBRE .
Cost is always a matter to be considered. The MOD will use personnel who offer the best result and the best value. Reservists offer specialist skills, local knowledge and are often more readily available than regulars who may be preparing for, or recovering from operations. For the individual Reservist the Olympics will provide an opportunity to participate in operations, possibly in direct support of their own communities.
Key points employers need to know:
- Most Reservists will be mobilised for a one-month duration from mid July to mid August, with a minority being mobilised for three-months from mid June.
- Call-out notices will be sent to employers 60 days prior to mobilisation, instead of the normal 28 days in order for employers to make appropriate arrangements. SaBRE strongly recommends that employers do not employ replacement staff until after their Reservist employee confirms they have been formally accepted into military service, i.e. mobilised. Many planning considerations can change an individual’s suitability or medical conditions can prevent an individual from actually mobilising even though they have received call-out notices. It is therefore important to stay in contact with your Reservist employee during this time.
- Legislation, namely the Safeguard of Employment Act 1985, places a legal obligation on employers to hold a Reservist’s job and reinstate the Reservist on completion of mobilised Service if it is reasonable and practical to do so. The call-out noitce will indicate the expected duration of any mobilisation.
- An employer has the right to apply for exemption or financial assistance. Details on how to apply will be sent to an employer with a call-out notice if their employee is selected for mobilisation. An employer doesn’t have to continue to pay a Reservist employee whilst they’re mobilised as they’ll be on a military salary. The employer can claim financial assistance to cover additional salary costs incurred, including overtime to other employees or the additional salary costs of a temporary replacement if they exceed the usual cost of the Reservist employee’s salary. The maximum amount an employer can claim for additional costs is currently set at £110 per day; roughly equivalent to £40,000 a year.
- Reservists who are employed by the emergency services, especially in London are unlikely to be mobilised. In addition, Reservists who have been mobilised in the last three years are unlikely to be considered for a mobilisation to support the Olympic Games, due to the provisions contained in the Reserve Forces Act 1996. Statutory limits currently state that a Reservist should only be mobilised for a maximum of 12 months out of every 36 month period. Therefore, if a Reservist has completed previous periods of mobilised service within the last 27/36 months they are unlikely to be considered. In some cases however, individuals who have mobilised in the last 36 months might be able to be mobilised, but only with the signed consent and support of their employer.
The focus of the Government and everyone involved is to deliver a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy, and the MOD appreciates employers’ support of their Reservist employee in making this happen.
If you have any specific questions or concerns you can contact us on our helpline (0800 389 5459) or get in touch with your local Regional SaBRE Campaign Director. You can find more information about employing a Reservist on our website.
BBC Video on Reservists working on the Olympics:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/Reservists at the Olympics