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Employers to get more support for armed forces reservists

The Government's intention to reshape the UK's defence and security forces by increasing the role of reserve soldiers is likely to have an impact on employers. Its White Paper on the Future of Reserve Forces has stressed the importance of civilian employers and the part they will have to play.

The plan is to offset a reduction in the regular Army by increasing the size of the newly named Army Reserve, formerly known as the Territorial Army. Some £1.8 billion pounds is to be invested in the Reserves, whose numbers are expected to grow by nearly 60 per cent, from 19,000 to 30,000.

Reservists will be 'more closely aligned' with regulars, so that they can be called out for anything that the regular Armed Forces might be.

The Ministry of Defence said that in future almost all military options will need the support of the Reserve Forces. Army reservists may be mobilised for up to one year in every five, including pre-deployment training, a possible six-month deployment and leave afterwards. Different rules will apply to Navy and RAF reserves.

The proposals include measures intended to reassure employers that the benefits of employing a reservist outweigh the costs. Financial awards will be given to small and medium-sized businesses when their employee reservists are mobilised.

The relationship between employers and reservists will also be supported by strengthening communication between them, and improving the predictability and notice periods for training and mobilisation. Reservists will have to notify employers of their reserve status, subject to security considerations.

Other benefits for employers include getting the equivalent of £9,000 worth of training every year for employee reservists, which is likely to improve their teamwork, leadership skills, organisational abilities, contingency planning and resilience.

Further information on the proposals is available from the SaBRE- Future Reserves 2020 website and can help you make preparations for the mobilisation or Absence of employees, as well as deal effectively with their return to work.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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