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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland

New Legislation For Reservists and Employers

From 1 October 2014, Reserves and their employers will be affected by legal changes announced within the Defence Reform Act 2014.  These changes are a big step forward, as they address employers’ views fed into the White Paper indicating that the costs of employing a Reservist outweighed the benefits. The new legislation also gives Reservists a more prominent role within Future Force 2020 and greater job security.

What legal changes will affect me or my employer?

Broader powers for mobilisation:

Defence will now be able to call out Reservists for any purpose for which Regulars may be used –previously, they could only be called out to serve in specific circumstances.  This will ensure that Reservists become more fully integrated into the Regular Forces. 

Also, the maximum period for which Reservists may be mobilised is increasing from nine to twelve months.  The twelve month period of mobilisation will cover training, deployment, and recuperation after service.

Current Reservists will have a choice whether to transfer to these new terms.  However, anyone joining on or after 1 October will be automatically subject to them.

Additional financial support for employers:

The changes coming into effect on 1 October give businesses financial incentives worth up to £6,000 a year per mobilised Reservist. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) and equivalent sized charities and partnerships will be allowed to claim up to £500 for each month their Reservist employee is mobilised.  This is to encourage businesses to continue being supportive employers. This financial incentive is on top of the existing Employer’s Award which covers the cost of replacing Reservists when they are mobilised.

Employment protection

As a result of changes to the Employment Rights Act, Reservists will be exempt from the two year qualifying period in bringing unfair dismissal claims to an employment tribunal if the reason, or primary reason for dismissal is their being a Reservist. 

Other legal changes from 1 October 2014

New name for the Territorial Army

The Territorial Army volunteer reserve force will be renamed the Army Reserve.  Many have been using this name for some time now, but from 1 October the new name will become official.  

Annual reporting on volunteer Reserve Forces

The Reserve Force and Cadets Associations will be required to report to the Secretary of State for Defence every year on how well we are doing on delivering FR20 and the health of the Reserves. This information will provide valuable independent scrutiny of our Reserve Forces.

For Employer Support in NI:

Contact the Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED)
at the RFCA for NI

Tel: 02890 664 902
Tel: 0800 389 5459 (free phone)
Fax: 02890 662 809
Email: ni-empsp[AT]rfca[DOT]mod[DOT]uk