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Reserve Forces personnel: right to claim unfair dismissal

The government is introducing new provisions to enhance the rights of those serving in the Reserve Forces. From 1 October 2014, employees who allege their dismissal was connected with their membership of a reserve force such as the army reserve (formerly known as the territorial army) will not need to have the usual two-year qualifying period required to claim unfair dismissal. However, reservists will still have to prove that it was unfair to dismiss them because of their absences from work – they will not be treated as automatically unfairly dismissed.

Prior to these changes, which are happening under the Defence Reform Act 2014, reservists have found it more difficult than other employees to acquire the necessary service needed to claim unfair dismissal, as time spent ‘called out’ on active service or training did not count towards continuous service. This situation was exacerbated in April 2012 when the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal increased from one year to two.

The government is also reducing the financial burden on reservists’ employers. Under the Reserve Forces (Payments to Employers and Partners) Regulations 2014 small and medium-sized employers will now be able to claim £500 per month (pro-rated for part-months and part-time employees working fewer than 35 hours per week) from the Ministry of Defence during periods when a reservist employee is absent on military service.  Employers will also be able to claim up to £110 a day for additional salary costs incurred in providing cover for the absent reservist. Reservists used to have between 19 and 27 training days a year; the plan is increase this to 40 days a year. LouiseAHeadShot

If you require further information or advice in any area of human resource management, contact Louise Addison on 01302 341 344.

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