Is an employer required to re-employ a member of the reserve forces where the reservist's demobilisation is earlier than expected?
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is not obliged to inform an employer of how long a reservist's call-out will last, although it will usually give an estimate. Tours normally last between three and 12 months, but can be longer or shorter depending on operational needs. For security reasons, the MoD will not give a specific date for a reservist's return.
The reservist will be medically assessed on their return from duty and will then have a period of post-operational leave, during which time they are still on military service. This is usually around 30 days, although it can vary. During this time the employee should be able to contact their employer to let it know that the mobilisation will end soon, although they might not be able to give a precise end date.
As long as the reservist makes a written application no later than the third Monday after the end of their service, or as soon as reasonable if sickness or some other reasonable cause prevents them from making the application, the employer's obligation to re-employ a reservist applies, regardless of the length of their absence or the length of notice that the employer is given of the return date. However, the obligation is only to take the reservist into employment at the first opportunity at which it is reasonable and practicable for the employer to do so. If a reservist's early return means that it is not reasonable or practicable for them to start work again immediately, their reinstatement can be delayed.