Reserve Forces & Cadet Force Adult Volunteers Training & Mobilisation Policy

1.         Introduction

SSGC employ staff who are members of the Reserve Forces or Cadet Forces and they recognise thevaluable contribution that Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAV) make to the UK ArmedForces, their communities and the civilian workplace.

2.       Purpose and Scope

The Company has pledged its support for members of, or those wishing to join the Reserve Forces or the CFAV and acknowledges the training undertaken by Reservists/CFAV that enables them to develop skillsand abilities that are of benefit to both the individual and their employer. This policy intends to define ourobligations towards all employees who are members of the Reserve Forces/CFAV. The accompanying document Line Manager and Reservist Guidance is a practical guide to help manage and support theseemployees.

The Company will not disadvantage those Reservists/CFAV who notify the Company of their Reserve status or those Reservists who are made known to the Company directly by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The Company shall, subject to the provisions set out in Section 4, agree to release Reservists for attendance at Reserve Forces Training events where these take place on their normal working days.

The Company shall, subject to the provisions set out in Section 5 agree to the release of all employees mobilised for Reservist duties.

The Company will continue to treat the contracts of employment of employees mobilised for Reserve Service as operable throughout the period of such service and there will be no loss of continuous service or service-related benefits.

2.         Types of Reservist & CFAV

There are two main types of Reservist:

·       Volunteer Reservists - civilians recruited into the Royal Naval Reserves, Royal Marines Reserves, Army Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

·      Regular Reservists - ex-regular servicemen who may retain a liability to be mobilised depending onhow long they have served in the Armed Forces.

·      The Cadet Forces consist of adult volunteer instructors that provide training to Cadets within Sea Cadets, the Army Cadet Force, the Air Cadets and Combined Cadet Force.

The Reserve Forces Act 1996 also provides for other categories, such as:

·      Full Time Reserve Service -Reservists who wish to serve full time with regulars for apredetermined period in a specific posting

·      Additional Duties Commitment - part-time service for a specified period in a particular post

·      Sponsored Reserves - These are personnel employed by a contractor to provide a service to theMinistry of Defence (MoD).

·      High Readiness Reserves – These are Reserves, usually with a particular skill set, that are available at short notice (with written agreement from their employer)

3.         Reserve Status Notification

Reservists are required to inform their employer that they are a member of the Reserve Forces and thespecific force that they belong to. This is so that the Company can provide the appropriate level of support to the Reservist.  It also assists with resource planning during periods of leave e.g. training and/or mobilisation. The Company also recognises the additional skills and experiences that being a Reservist can bring to the Company and therefore it is useful for the Company to have an understanding of where these particular skills and experiences exist.

Reservist employees are also required to grant permission for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to write directly to their employer. This is known as ‘Employer Notification’ and ensures the Company is made aware that theemployee is a Reservist and the benefits, rights and obligations that apply.

The MoD will issue written confirmation to the employer informing them the employee is a Member of theReserve Forces. The letter will provide detail of mobilisation obligations and rights as an employee; rightsas an employer; and details of the financial assistance available if an employee is mobilised. Where possible, it will also provide details of any annual training commitments. The MoD will also send a follow-upletter each year to confirm that the information held is still accurate.

It is the responsibility of the Reservist to ensure their personal details are kept up to date e.g. if they change employer or leave their respective Reserve Force.

In any circumstance, the Reservist will not be disadvantaged as a result of notifying the Company of their Reserve status.

4.         Training commitments and Time off

The Company recognises the importance of the training undertaken by Reservists that enables them to develop skills and abilities that are of benefit to their respective Reserve Force, the individual and the Company

Reservists are typically committed to 24-40 days training per year. Training tends to take place 1 eveningper week, over various weekends throughout the year and one 2 week training period also known as ‘annual camp’. Training commitments vary but in most cases include:

•    Weekly training - most Reservists train at their local centre for around two-and-a-half hours, oneevening a week.

•    Weekend training - all Reservists are expected to attend a number of training weekends which takeplace throughout the year.

•    Annual training - a 2 week annual training course sometimes referred to as ‘annual camp’. This maytake place at a training establishment, as an attachment to a Regular Unit, a training exercise or acombination of any of these. Training normally takes place within the UK, although each year someReservists train overseas.

The Company is committed to granting additional paid leave of 15 Days per year to Reservists specifically toenable them to attend their annual camp.

The Company is further committed to granting CFAV additional paid leave of 5 Days per year to enable them to attend their annual camp.

Additional unpaid leave or annual leave from the employee’s normal annual allocation will be granted on a case-by-case basis for short periods of training provided adequate notice is given and where such trainingcannot be undertaken in off-duty time. Attendance at weekend training which cannot be undertaken duringoff-duty will be subject to the same arrangements.

                   

Line Managers will facilitate work rosters to allow attendance at annual camp and other trainingcommitments (e.g. weekly or weekend training sessions) unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Reservist and CFAV employees should give as much notice as possible of training commitments toallow appropriate planning for absences. Permission once given will not be rescinded unless there areexceptional circumstances.

5.         Mobilisation

Mobilisation is the process of calling Reservists into full time service with the Regular Forces, in order tomake them available for military operations. The maximum period of mobilisation will depend on the scaleand the nature of the operation and is typically no longer than 12 months.

The Call-out papers for mobilisation are sent by post to the Company or sometimes delivered in person bythe Reservist to their line manager. The documentation will include the call-out date and the anticipatedtimeline. Whenever possible, Defence aims to give at least 28 days’ notice of the date that a Reservist will be required to report for mobilisation, although there is no statutory requirement for a warning period prior tomobilisation.

A period of mobilisation comprises three distinct phases:

·      Medical and pre-deployment training;

·      Operational tour;

·      Post-operational tour leave

Line Managers should refer to the example Line Manager and Reservist Guidance document which accompanies this policy for further information on the following actions:

Pre-mobilisation

  • Meet with Reservist to ensure all mobilisation paperwork completed (including pay, benefits & pension arrangements)
  • Make a claim for financial assistance as appropriate (see s.10 of policy)
  • Discuss any handover of work and return of equipment
  • Arrangements for keeping in touch
  • Refer to checklists in Line Manager and Reservist Guidance document

During mobilisation

  • Keep in touch with Reservist as arranged

Post-mobilisation

  • Ensure both employer and reservist fulfill their return to work obligations (including reference to template letters)
  • After care and support requirements

6.           Applying for Exemption/Deferral/Revocation

In all cases of mobilisation, the company will release the Reservist to report for duty unless there are exceptional circumstances, whereby the decision and reasoning will be explained to the Reservist.

In such circumstances line managers have the right to seek exemption, deferral or revocation if theReservist's absence is considered to cause serious harm to service delivery.

Definitions of 'harm' will vary from case to case, but may include;

•    loss of reputation, goodwill or other financial harm

•    impairment of the ability to produce goods or provide services

•    harm to the research and development of new products, services or processes (which could not beprevented by the granting of financial assistance under sections 83 and 84 of The Reserve Forces Act1996).

Details of how to apply for exemption are included in the call-out pack. The application must reach theAdjudication Officer within 7 days of the Company receiving a call-out notice. If this timescale is not met,permission to make a late application will need to be obtained from the Adjudication Officer. The Reservistalso has the right to apply for exemption or deferral if the call-out papers arrive at a difficult time.

If an unsatisfactory decision is received following the application for a deferral, the Company can appeal for ahearing by the Reserve Forces Appeals Tribunal. Appeals must reach the Tribunals Secretary within 5 daysreceipt of written notice of the decision. If the tribunal rejects the application for exemption or deferral, the Company will be required to release the Reservist for mobilisation.

7.         Treatment of Terms and Conditions during mobilisation

The Company will continue to treat the contracts of employment of employees mobilised for Reserve Service as operable throughout the period of such service and there will be no loss of continuous service or service-related benefits.

Under, The Reserve Forces Act (Safeguarding of Employment) Act 1985, an employee’s service is terminated on mobilisation, but providing the employee follows the correct notification procedure under the Act, he or she can return to employment upon which their continuity of service will be restored.

Pay

The MoD will assume responsibility for the Reservist’s salary for the duration of their mobilisation. They will pay a basic salary according to the Reservist’s military rank. If this basic element is less than the Reservist receives from the Company, it is the Reservist’s responsibility to apply to the MoD for the difference to ensure that they suffer no loss of earnings. This is known as a Reservist Award.

Where mobilisation occurs, the employee will be given special unpaid leave of absence.

The Company is not required to pay the Reservist’s salary during the period of mobilisation.

Benefits

Contractual benefits that are suspended by the Company during mobilisation can be claimed by the Reservist as part of their Reservist Award. Example benefits include:

·      Health insurance

·      Life insurance

·      Company car

The Line Manager and Reservist should discuss benefit arrangements during the pre-mobilisation meeting. This should cover those benefits which will be suspended and for any continuing benefits, arrangements should be made as to how these are paid.

Pension

If the Reservist is a member of the Company pension scheme and the employer suspends the employer contribution, and the Reservist chooses to remain within it, then the MoD will make the employer contributions for the period of mobilisation, as long as the Reservist continues to make their personal contributions.

Annual Leave

Reservists should be encouraged to take any accrued annual leave before mobilisation. The Company is notobliged to accrue annual leave for a Reservist employee during the period of mobilisation. Reservists accrueannual leave with the MoD whilst they are in full time service. When they demobilise, Reservists are entitledto a period of post-operational leave (POL). During this period they will continue to be paid by the MoD.

Holiday entitlement for one holiday year must be taken in the same holiday year. You won’t be able to carry over holidays from the previous year. Also, please note that bank holidays are not paid holidays unless worked.

Dismissal/Redundancy

A Reservist’s employment cannot be terminated on the grounds of their military duties or their liability to bemobilised. To do so would be a criminal offence under s.17 of The Reserve Forces (Safeguarding of Employment) Act 1985.

Reservists can be included in the redundancy pool if this is necessary due to a downturn in business or closure of a department. However, all employees should be treated consistently, and redundancy criteriashould not discriminate against Reservists on the grounds of their Reserve service or call-up liability.

Sick Pay

During the period of mobilisation the Reservist will continue to accrue any rights to service-related Company sick pay.  Should a Reservist become sick or injured during mobilisation they will be covered by Defence Medical Services and any financial assistance will continue to be received (including pay) until demobilised. If the sickness or injury continues and this results in early demobilisation, the Reservist will remain covered by Defence until the last day of paid military leave.

After this time The Reservist will be covered by the Company sickness arrangements (in line with local policy).  

If the Reservist becomes ill post mobilisation, and a notional return to work date has been agreed, they will be covered by the Company Sickness arrangements (in line with local policy).

8.         Return to work

Both the Reservist and their employer have obligations under The Reserve Forces (Safeguarding of Employment Act) 1985 regarding the return to work process

Reservist:

The Reservist must write to their employer by the third Monday after their last day of military service making their request to return to work and suggesting a date which should fall within 6 weeks of their last day of full-time service .This letter formally starts the return to work process.

They are also encouraged to informally contact the employer to discuss their return to work at the earliest opportunity, whether via a letter, a meeting or a telephone call. The formal application must be made in writing for it to be valid under the Act.

If a Reservist is not happy with the offer of alternative employment they must write to the employer stating why there is reasonable cause for them not to accept it. If a Reservist believes that an employer’s response to their application denies their rights under the Safeguard of Employment Act 1985, an application can be made to a Reinstatement Committee for assessment. This committee will consider the Reservist's application and can make an order for reinstatement and/or compensation.

Employer:

The Employer has an obligation under Reserve Forces (Safeguarding of Employment) Act 1985 to reinstate the Reservist, where possible to their former role, and if not, to a mutually acceptable role on the same terms and conditions prior to mobilisation.

The Reservist should be reinstated within 6 weeks of the last day of their full-time service. They must be reinstated for a minimum period of 13, 26 or 52 weeks, depending on their length of service prior to mobilisation.

Sometimes Reservists may need refresher training when they return to work, or be given time to familiarisethemselves with processes and procedures in the workplace. Financial assistance may be available for retraining if it is required as a direct result of their mobilisation, although applications cannot be made for training courses that would have taken place anyway. Evidence of costs will be required in addition toevidence that the Reservist could not reach the required standard by any other means, such as workplace experience.

9.         Aftercare

A Reservist returning to work will benefit from a smooth re-integration into the workplace/team. Thefollowing should be considered as part of this process:

•    The need to update on changes and developments in the Company.

•    The need to offer specific refresher training where it is sought/considered necessary.

•    Where the job duties have changed since mobilisation a period of skills training may be required toassist with new aspects of the job.

•    Whether the reservist can meet up with colleagues informally or socially before or after returnto work to prevent any feeling of dislocation, if this is sought.

•    Reasonable time off to seek therapeutic treatment if required.

Performance Review

Line managers who carry out Performance Review meetings with a Reservist should be aware that Reserve Forces activities undertaken by an individual (either through training or mobilisation) bring essential skills into the workplace such as leadership, communication, team working and organisational ability, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace.

10.      Financial Assistance

Financial assistance for employers in the event of an employee who is a Reservist being mobilised is governed by the Reserve Forces (Call out and recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2005. These coveradditional costs above the normal earnings of the called-up Reservist associated with replacing thatemployee. There are 3 types of award available:

          One-off costs

•    Agency fees, if a recruitment agency or employment agency is used to find a temporary replacement;or Advertising costs

•    No financial cap on claims, but any claim must be supported by relevant documentation

          Recurring costs

•    Overtime costs, if other employees work overtime to cover the work of the Reservist [by the amountthat such costs exceed earnings of the Reservist]

•    Costs of temporary replacement [by the amount that such costs exceed earnings of the Reservist]

The maximum claim available is £110 per day (£40,000 per annum). Claims can be made for every normalworking day that the Reservist is away on service. An application for one-off costs and recurring costs must be made within 4 weeks of the end of full time Reservist service.

         

Training award

If a returning Reservist has to undertake additional training as a direct result of their mobilisation (routinetraining excluded), then the Company can make an application for the financial assistance.

11.      Further information

Further sources of guidance and information can be obtained from the following:

  • Defence Relationship Management

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/defence-relationship-management

Helpline: – 0800 389 5459. This is a free telephone helpline open during office hours where advice and guidance can be obtained on training, mobilisation and employment issues.