SaBRE - We're all stronger with Reservists

Communicating with your employer

There are specific times when you’ll need to talk to your employer about your commitments as a Reservist. These include if you start a new job, if you want time off for training, and, of course, if you’re mobilised.

If you need time off for training

Your employer is under no obligation to give you any extra leave, either paid or unpaid, to attend training. If you give your employer plenty of notice they can plan ahead and are more likely to accept your request. Read more

Starting a new job

If you’re looking for a new job, it’s important to let your employer know as early as possible that you are a Reservist or are planning to join the VRF. By mentioning this in an interview you also have the opportunity to talk about the skills you have gained through your membership of the Reserves. Dealing with any questions that your employer may have about what your Reservist commitments involve from the start will make asking for time off for training easier later on.


As soon as you receive a call-out notice you should tell your employer. They should also receive an employer’s pack containing information about your mobilisation and their rights and responsibilities. Your employer may well have concerns, so you might find it useful to point out the availability of Financial Assistance and let them know where they can find help.

Always emphasise the benefits to your employer

Try to see the situation from your employer’s point of view as it will help you understand any concerns they may have and can help you sell the benefits to them a little more easily.

Handling Concerns

The most common concerns an employer will have are the likely impact of your Reservist duties on your job and that they might result in additional costs to the business. It would help to tell them right at the start that the Ministry of Defence takes steps to ensure that employers are not financially disadvantaged as a result of employing a Reservist.

You can tell them that:

  • most training takes place outside normal working hours – the choice to grant any additional time off is entirely at an employer’s discretion. Although many employers do choose to do so because they value the skills and experience your training develops;
  • evening training is on the same evening each week and other training is scheduled well in advance to help you plan ahead;
  • if you’re mobilised, your employer won’t have to pay you (the MOD will pay you the equivalent of your civilian salary or your military rate of pay, whichever is more); 
  • if you’re mobilised, your employer can apply for financial assistance to cover costs such as advertising and agency fees for recruiting a temporary replacement, extra overtime payments for existing staff, and retraining you on your return if this is necessary;
  • if you are mobilised they have the right to appeal if they think it would cause serious harm to their business. 

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