From 1st October 2014 legislative changes will commence in respect of the Reserve Forces. The majority of Reserve Forces will be aware of this already, however this article should be passed to all involved reserves and employers to make them fully aware of the changes.
Since 2003 over 265,000 Reservists have been mobilised including for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Reservists haven’t been able to deploy on the full range of operations and tasks that Regular Forces can. Reflecting the growing role of the Reserves and the importance of establishing a more integrated whole force from 1 October 2014 the law governing call-out powers (the Reserve Forces Act) will change to allow a Reservist to be called out (mobilised) for any purpose a Regular can be used. For example, presently Reserves cannot be called out for tasks like the Falklands Roulement Infantry Company, or for a range of Defence Engagement activity such as training teams.
Serving Reservists will be fully briefed on the change in detail in the coming months and after 1 October they will be able to elect to move over to the new terms. Serving Reservists who choose not move over will continue to serve under their current call-out powers until they re-engage, extend their service or commission, when they will be required to accept the new powers. For those joining the Reserves, the new terms will automatically apply to those who attest on or after 1 October 2014.
The consultation that informed the Future Reserves White Paper revealed Reservists wanted to be able to play a wider role in Defence. These changes will realise that desire and give Reservists the opportunity to deploy on the full range of tasks and operations both at home and abroad, although Reservists won’t be mobilised solely for training or strike activityindustrial disputes.
Defence’s most senior Reservist, Major General John Crackett commented:
“These wider mobilisation powers are something that Reservists have asked for and. Wwhilst some tasks have historically been the preserve of Regulars this is changing under the Whole Force concept, bringing new opportunities for the Reserves. I would strongly encourage all serving Reservists to move across to the new call-out powers so they are able to take advantage of these opportunities”.
As well as the changes to call-out powers, Defence is making other changes to the Reserve Forces as part of the package of changes within theset out in the White Paper. A summary of all the changes is included below or can be found in 2014DIN01-104 and further information will be provided in the coming weeks:
– The TA will be renamed the Army Reserve.
– Defence will be able to make additional payments to employers when their Reservist is mobilised, with the intent to focus these payments towards small and medium enterprises and charities.
– Removal of the statutory two year qualifying period to raise a claim of unfair dismissal where the reason, or principal reason, is due to their Reservist status.
– The Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations will produce an annual report on the health of the volunteer Reserve Forces.