Future Reserves 2020 (FR20) Programme
With the release of the Government’s Future Reserves 2020 White Paper laying down plans and intentions on the future structure and usage of the Reserve Forces, a number of changes affecting employers have been highlighted. Amongst these measures, the Ministry of Defence will ensure that all reservists notify their employers of their reserve status, subject to any relevant security considerations.
Employers will in future be informed of key training events that their employees are expected to attend three months before the start of the training year so that adequate planning can be made to accommodate this.
For Army Reservists, a minimum notice period of 12 months, in some cases 18 months’ notice, will be given of when employees are entering their minimum warning period and are therefore liable for mobilisation. Within this warning period for enduring operations, 9 months’ notice of mobilisation will be given for Army reservists and at least 3 months’ notice for Maritime and RAF reservists. For major disasters or emerging crises, these periods could of course be reduced. Employers will also be informed of a reservist’s return to work date after a period of mobilisation.
Employers will retain the right to appeal against any mobilisation of an employee.
Feedback will, with the reservist's consent, be given to employers on what a reservist has done or achieved during a period of mobilised service. This could include details of significant achievements or qualifications gained.
Legislation has also been introduced to enable a flat-rate payment of £500 per month to small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) when they have a reservist mobilised in order to minimise the impact of losing an employee for a period of operational service. This will be in addition to the current financial packages which can be claimed.
In addition Statutory Instrument 2015/460 came into force on 27 March 2015 and amended the 2005 Regulations to make the following changes:
Employers are now able to claim for five days of handover costs before their reservist employee is mobilised and five days of handover costs when that employee returns;
For those jobs that require specialist clothing, employers are now able to re-claim some of the costs of purchasing such clothing for a person who replaces a reservist during a period of mobilisation;
To ensure that a reservist’s replacement is as effective as possible, employers are now able to claim for some of the costs of training which it is necessary for a replacement to complete;
Self-employed reservists are able to claim for some of the expenses they incur in order to effect the cessation of their business as a result of mobilisation;
A reduction in the cap on payments to non-specialist reservists to mitigate losses during mobilisation resulting from their Service pay being lower than their civilian pay. The cap has been reduced from £548 per day to £400 per day to mitigate such losses.