Should My Organisation Create an Armed Forces Policy?

Introduction

This article provides a brief overview of how to create an Armed Forces policy and what it should include.

Army Reserve Soldiers from various brigades with the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), San Antonio, Texas, engage virtual targets on an Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) II during the 4th ESC’s Best Warrior Competition at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, March 1, 2019. Approximately 24 Army Reserve Soldiers throughout four brigades participated in this year’s competition to claim the title of Best Warrior. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Ruth Medinavillanueva/Released)

Background

Creating an Armed Forces policy will demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community and will help to ensure that no member of the community is at a disadvantage in the workplace or during recruitment due to their military status.

What are Reservists?

  • There are both ‘regular’ and ‘volunteer’ reservists in the Armed Forces which, for these purposes, include the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
  • Regular reservists are former full-time service people who may be still liable for service under certain circumstances once they have left the regular forces.
  • Volunteer reservists are members of the Royal Naval and Royal Marines Reserves (the Maritime Reserves), the Army Reserve (formerly the Territorial Army) and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
    • They train and serve alongside the regular forces during their spare time, but they may also be called up (mobilised) for a period of full-time service.
  • When reservists can be mobilised depends on when they joined (discussed below).

Why Create an Armed Forces Policy?

  • Training commitments vary between the services, but most Armed Forces reservists complete between nine (9) and twenty seven (27) days of training per year.
  • Most training takes place on evenings and weekends, however all reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) must attend a mandatory annual training camp, which usually lasts for around two weeks.
  • The camp may be held in the UK or abroad and develops (from a business perspective) skills in team building, communication, leadership, and more – as well as the military skills that are required.
  • Offering additional leave to reservists and CFAVs is not currently mandated in England but is considered good practice.
  • Making your employees’ training commitments more manageable and negating the need to use up their statutory annual leave to fulfil mandatory commitments can:
    • Attract more highly skilled reservists and members of the Armed Forces community to your organisation;
    • Help you to meet the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award criteria; and
    • Build a happier and more productive workforce.

Creating your Policy

Existing Policy

  • The easiest way to create an Armed Forces policy is to adapt an existing policy.
  • For example, you might include the Armed Forces community in your Special Leave policy.
  • Additional leave for Armed Forces reservists can be recorded on the Electronic Staff Record as a supplementary role.

New Policy

  • Alternatively, you can create a brand-new policy offering additional paid/unpaid annual leave to cover part or all of the mandatory training camp attended by reservists and CFAVs.
  • A model policy will provide a legal framework which should cover:
    • Supporting reservists during training and mobilisation and demobilisation;
    • Supporting CFAVs during training;
    • Financial assistance and pension advice for employers; and
    • Information on pay progression.

Extending a Policy

  • You might also extend the policy to cover the needs of the wider Armed Forces community.
  • For example, you might offer additional leave to military spouses and/or dependants when a family member is deployed.
  • Covering the needs of the wider community can help to support individuals within the community to navigate the complexities of military life, such as:
    • Managing childcare while a spouse is away;
    • Improve employee, morale and productivity; and
    • Help you to fulfil any pledges made when signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

Before you make changes to existing policies or create a new policy, be sure to seek the approval of your board/management. Your Armed Forces champion, if you have one, could coordinate activities around your Armed Forces policy.

Examples of Policies

2014 Rule Changes

  • Pre-October 2014:
    • Reservists joining before 01 October 2014 can only be mobilised in certain circumstances, for example:
      • In response to imminent national danger;
      • If warlike operations are in preparation or progress; or
      • For the protection of life and property outside the UK.
    • They can choose whether to transfer to new terms applying to reservists joining on or after 01 October 2014.
  • Post October 2014:
    • Reservists joining on or after 01 October 2014 can be called out for any purpose for which members of the regular armed forces may be used.
    • From that time the maximum period for which reservists may be mobilised increased from nine to 12 months.
    • The 12-month period of mobilisation covers training, deployment, and recuperation after service.

Regulations

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