Changes to the Reserve Forces affecting employers

Here we talk about what this means for your business and what financial and training support is available for businesses that take on a Reserve.

The changes were presented in a White Paper, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, and is the result of a 2010 review, which found that the Reserves should form a higher percentage of the overall Armed Forces.

This will mean the number of trained reservists is set to increase from around 19,000 to 30,000 by 2020.     This increase in numbers and potential frequency in use will have a knock-on effect on those UK employers who currently and in the future have reservists in their workforce.

A consultation exercise on the proposed changes was held with employers and reservists earlier this year, and as a result, new measures for employers have been created with the aim to provide more incentive to employ reservists and provide more support during periods of mobilisation. The government also wants to form a new, more open relationship with employers so they can work together to achieve mutual benefits.

Financial compensation for employers

The most notable change for SMEs (those with under 250 employees) is the introduction of a payment of £500 per month while their employee is mobilised, as the government realise that accommodating a period of mobilisation can have a bigger impact on smaller and medium-sized employers.

In addition, there are a number of further measures for all employers, such as being notified if they have a reservist on their staff, and more notice of training and mobilisation periods which will help both employers and reservists to plan. Additionally they have plans to revamp the financial assistance process and create a new way of acknowledging supportive employers.

Training and better information

During the consultation, employers also asked the government to improve the information they provide and wanted more of an understanding about the value of the training Reservists receive that they bring back to the workplace.

This opinion is well founded, as research shows that an employer would have to purchase over £8,000 of commercial civilian training to provide the same amount of development that an average reservist’s military service provides in a year (this relates only to the skills that are relevant to the civilian workplace).

As the changes are rolled out during the next few years, the Government plan to continue their engagement with employers to make sure the new initiatives are fit for purpose and sustainable in the long term.

More information on the employment of reservists see. A full copy of the Future Reserves White Paper can be also be downloaded.

Last updated July 2016.


There are some changes to the Reserve Forces that will impact employers when taking on a Reserve.