Find out about your rights as a Reservist and the responsibilities you have towards your employer - to be open and honest with them about your status as a Reservist and to give them accurate information at key points.
Protection of employment
The Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 (SOE 85) provides you with two types of protection:
- Pre-mobilisation, Section 17 of the Act provides protection from unfair dismissal additional to that given by the Employment Rights Act 1996. Your employer can’t terminate your employment without your consent on account of your liability to be mobilised. If they do, they can be fined in court, as well as ordered to pay you compensation.
- A right to reinstatement when you return to your civilian job from a period of mobilisation. However, there are certain conditions to be met, especially in terms of timelines for contacting your employer when returning from mobilisation. Read more about the return to work process.
Reservists can be included in the redundancy pool if this is necessary due to a downturn in business or the closure of a department or branch. However, before selecting a Reservist for redundancy, an employer should consider the Reservist's position in light of the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985, especially if the Reservist has an entitlement to reinstatement following a period of mobilised service or has been reinstated within the past 52 weeks.
If, however, a Reservist were to be singled out and their employment terminated as a result of their call up liability it would be a violation of the Safeguard of Employment Act 1985 under section 17.
Financial assistance if you’re mobilised
You are entitled to financial assistance if mobilised, for example, if your military rate of pay is lower than your civilian salary you can apply to have the difference topped up. Find out more about what can be claimed and how.
Right to apply for exemption
If you receive a call out notice for mobilisation at a difficult time you have the right to apply for exemption, deferral or revocation of a mobilisation. Find out more about the grounds for appealing against a mobilisation
Your employer also has the right to appeal against your mobilisation if they believe that your absence would cause serious harm to their business.
Keep your employer informed about your Reservist commitments
It’s important that you tell your employer about your commitments as a Reservist, and it’s usually best to do it as early as you can. Your specialist skills and training make you an asset to any business, so take the opportunity to tell your employer about the valuable transferable skills you’re gaining – and at no additional cost to them.
It’s up to you to tell your employer about your training commitments, but the more you can explain about the benefits to them, the more likely they’ll be to grant you additional leave. Whenever you need to book time off, your employer will always appreciate being given as much notice as possible. Find out more about requesting time off for training and communicating with your employer.
Employers aren’t legally obliged to grant you extra leave for training or Annual Camp - it's entirely up to them - but many are happy to do so because they also get to see the benefits.
Let your employer know when your unit is going to be in touch
Since 2004, when you join the VRF or decide to re-engage, the MOD will to write to your employer directly. This system, called Employer Notification, was set up to ensure that employers are aware that they have an employee in the VRF and that they know about the associated benefits, rights and obligations.
Contracts of employment and membership of the VRF
It may be a condition of your civilian job that you tell your employer if you have additional part-time work, or secondary employment (which is how Reservist activity may be viewed). If this is the case, it’s very important that you tell your employer or you may be breaking the terms of your contract of employment.
Tell your employer straight away if you’re mobilised
If you receive a call-out notice for mobilisation, you should tell your boss as soon as possible. They’ll receive a pack giving them details, but it’s still your responsibility to let them know. Read more about discussing mobilisation with your employer.
After mobilisation, write to your boss about returning to work
After a tour of duty you should write to your employer to let you them know that you can return to work. You’ll find full details in the returning to work section.