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How to respond when members of the reserve forces are called out for military service

Author: Peter Chandler


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  • Members of the reserve forces (reservists) may be called out (mobilised) if they are needed for military operations, including to aid the military response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • Be aware that it is an offence to dismiss an employee because they have been, or are likely to be, called out for military service.
  • While you cannot refuse to permit an employee who has been called out for military service to go, be aware that you may apply for an exemption, deferral or revocation of mobilisation if the employee's absence is likely to result in serious harm to the business.
  • Where an employee is mobilised, take into account your right to apply to the Ministry of Defence for financial assistance to cover certain costs associated with the employee's absence from work.
  • Take into account that there is no requirement for you to pay an employee during their absence on military service.
  • Understand that the employee will not accrue annual leave with your organisation during mobilisation.
  • Be aware that, after the period of military service, a member of the reserve forces has the right to be reinstated in their former job within six months of demobilisation.
  • Ensure that, once reinstated, the employee is employed for the appropriate minimum period.
  • When calculating a reservist employee's continuity of employment, be aware that this is not broken by a period of military service, although the period away from civilian employment does not count towards the total period of continuous employment.