Q&As

The government has announced it will be taking steps to mobilise military reservists to help in the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As an employer of a military reservist, what are my rights and liabilities?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/03/2020

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The government has announced it will be taking steps to mobilise military reservists to help in the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As an employer of a military reservist, what are my rights and liabilities?
  • Time off
  • Terms and conditions during mobilisation
  • Right to seek exemption, deferral or revocation of mobilisation
  • Financial assistance
  • Employer incentive payment
  • Reservist’s right to return to work
  • Redundancy
  • Protection in relation to unfair dismissal

An employer has certain legal responsibilities in relation to a reservist’s mobilisation and reinstatement at work afterwards.

An employer can claim for financial assistance to cover certain costs during a reservist’s mobilisation, and can also claim incentive payments of up to £500 per month for an employee who is mobilised.

For full details and further information in relation to reservists generally, see Practice Note: Military reservists.

Time off

If the reservist is called out for whole-time service with the Reserve Forces, call-out papers are issued to both the reservist and their employer, which will detail the date the reservist must call for duty at a specified mobilisation centre and the anticipated duration of the mobilisation. There is no minimum statutory notice requirement, but the Ministry of Defence (MOD) aims to give at least 28 days’ notice for short operations and at least between three and nine months’ notice for longer assignments.

An employer or the reservist can apply for deferral or revocation of a call-out notice, or for an exemption (see below). In the case of the employer, the grounds of the application must be that the reservist’s absence would cause serious harm to the employer’s business.

Terms and conditions during mobilisation

In the absence of agreement to the contrary, the reservist employee’s contract of employment will terminate during their service in the reserve forces, and salary and other benefits will

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