Who would have thought 9/11 would have brought so many changes for the Reserve Forces and their Employers?
Who could forget 11 September 2001? I was in Brighton attending The Trades Union Congress conference waiting for the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to address the conference, only for the speech to be cancelled. I was attending the conference as an exhibitor to raise awareness of who Reservists were and to encourage their employers to show flexibility in giving time off for the periodic training Reservists were required to do.
Who could then have imagined that a year later, employers were being asked to support their Reservist employees for periods away from the work place for up to a year?
Ten years on, over 24,000 Reservists have been mobilised principally in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also more recently in Libya. None of this would have been possible without the magnificent support shown by employers during this time.
Since 2007 over 1,300 companies have publicly declared their support for employing Reservists on the SaBRE website and 865 have specific Reservist HR policies in place.
So what does the future hold? In the near term, it is very likely that the same level of support from employers will to be asked for, certainly until the end of active operations in Afghanistan in 2014. However, the number of Reservists is set to grow considerably over the next view years as a result of the recently published Reserve Forces Review 2020.
While the increase in the size of the Reserve Forces won’t necessarily mean more Reservists overall being mobilised, it will mean more employers experiencing Reservists in their workplace. In addition, with the likelihood of new roles for Reservists, HR professionals will need to have policies in place to make sure their business isn’t taken by surprise by these changes.
I will be writing a regular blog on the issues employers of Reservists face and I would like to hear from you HR professionals on any specific issues you are facing that you would like to explore further.
Read Tim's blog on HR Zone