Your Rights as a Military Reservist (Armed Forces)

Site updated on February 17, 2020

As a member of the Reserve Forces you benefit from some extra employment protection – in addition to the rights enjoyed by all employees. 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. 

Since 2014 you no longer need two years service to complain of unfair dismissal. If your dismissal is connected with your Reserve forces duties it is called automatically unfair and you are protected from your first day of work.

In summary:

  • You have the right to be reinstated to the job you left before being called up. Your Employer should take you back on terms which are no less favourable to you. In fact you should also benefit from any improvements whilst you have been away – for example a pay increase.
  • If it really is not possible to have your old job back, your Employer should offer you suitable alternative employment wherever possible. You also have some protection against unfair treatment for a limited period after you return to work.
  • There is nothing to prevent an Employer declining to employ you on the grounds that you are a Reservist. You should inform your Employer of your reservist status. Since April 2004 it has been a condition of service that your unit may inform your Employer of your status. It is better to do this yourself out of courtesy.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.
  • You are entitled to take leave from your Employer to attend  training . There is no right to be paid by your Employer for this. Some Employers grant paid time off, others go 50/50, giving  some  leave with pay.
  • If you are called upon, you will usually receive service pay from the MoD. As such your Employer does not have to pay your normal salary, even if your service pay is less than your normal pay. Some Employers do voluntarily make up your pay to normal levels. Check with your Employer to establish their policy on this.Your Employer may be able to get Government assistance with some of the costs incurred through your absence, for example a “re-training” allowance.

© Your Job Rights 2016

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