Contacting HR

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Reserve Forces

The government has announced a call-up of the Reserve Forces for military service. A summary of the main issues is set out below.

The relevant Acts are the Reserve Forces Act 1996 and the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985. Employees called up to compulsory full military service should receive two week’s advance notice and will receive a letter to give to their employer, as well as their own call-up papers. The length of full-time military service is likely to be from 3 months to 1 year. UCL as an employer can seek an exemption or deferral if the employee’s absence will cause serious problems. A UCL employee who is not called up but volunteers for military service will need to obtain UCL’s agreement. The employee will be paid by the MOD not UCL, during the absence. The employee can apply to the MOD for additional pay if the standard military pay is lower than their normal pay. The MOD will pay UCL the employer’s pension contribution provided the employee agrees to pay the employee’s contribution from their military salary. In addition, UCL can apply for compensation from the MOD to cover the costs caused by the loss of the employee as follows:

  1. Initial Replacement - This award is for actual net additional costs, within distinct limits, and covers the initial one-off costs such as advertising for, and interviewing, replacement staff. The upper limit is 6% of the employee's annual salary, or £2,400 (whichever is the least).
  2. Ongoing Administration - This is for actual net additional recurring costs such as agency fees and overtime during the employee's military duty. The upper limit is set at 4% of the weekly rate of salary or £31 per week; whichever is the least, multiplied by the number of weeks of military duty.
  3. Re-training Award- This award is intended to cover any re-training costs, incurred when the employee returns from mobilised military duty and is required to regain or renew any standards of competence or qualifications. The award will be based on actual expenditure incurred, up to a maximum of £2,000.

After military service, the employee is entitled to return to their job on the same pay and conditions of service unless the job ended on the normal expiry date (e.g. a fixed-term contract). In those circumstances, they can apply for suitable alternative work. It is unclear at the moment whether the contract actually continues during the absence but it is likely to be treated similar to maternity leave.

If you have a member of staff who has been, or is likely to be called for military service as a reservist (or who intends to volunteer) please contact a member of the HR Consultancy Team who will work with you to ensure that the appropriate payroll action is taken and compensation sought from the MOD.