Are employers obliged to allow time off for Reservists to attend Annual Camp and to pay for that time off?Friday, December 17th, 2010
Reservists are part-time members of the Armed Forces, or ex-members of the Regular Forces with a reserve liability, who are able to boost the capability of Regular Units during military operations. There are around 40,000 Volunteer Reservists in the UK and they form some 25% of the UK’s total defence capacity.
Employers should be aware of any employees who are Reservists. Reservists are encouraged to discuss their membership of the Reserve Forces and the Ministry of Defence has an “employer notification” system to advise employers of any Reservists they employ. In addition, where it is a condition of employment that employees notify their employer if they take a second job, an employee who becomes a Reservist must view their Reserve Forces membership as a second or part-time job.
Reservists are required to undertake training throughout the year and they learn skills, many of which are transferable to civilian workplace, that many organisations do not have money or time to provide. The average Reservist receives training in skills that would cost an employer over £9,000 per year to provide. Much of the training includes nationally recognised qualifications such as NVQs, SCOTVEC and City & Guilds. All Reservists are trained in first aid. Among the transferable skills gained by Reservists, depending on the Service and Unit to which they belong, are
- advanced communications using computer, radio and satellite technology
- language skills for intelligence and administrative operations
- handling explosives, dangerous chemicals or waste
- driving heavy goods vehicles or motorcycles
Whatever training is provided, it helps Reservists acquire commitment, respect, integrity and discipline.
The training provided for most Reservists takes three forms:
- weekly training – most Reservists attend training at their local centre for about 2½ hours each week on an evening
- weekend training - all Reservists are expected to attend a number of training weekends which are spread out throughout the year.
- continuous training period – once a year, there is a 15-day continuous training period that is sometimes known as “Annual Camp”. This may take the form of a course at a training establishment, an attachment to a Regular Unit, a training exercise or a combination of these elements. Each year, some Reservists train overseas.
Some Reservists volunteer for extra training courses and other duties in addition to their annual continuous training period. This training focuses on skills such as health and safety, IT and personnel management.
The Annual Camp is often the one time in the year when the Reservist’s Unit can train together. The dates are determined as early as possible in order to help Reservists arrange time off work. There is no statutory requirement for employers to provide additional time off for a Reservist’s annual continuous training period, either paid or unpaid. Some employers require Reservists to take the time from their annual holiday entitlement. However, in view of the transferable skills that are gained from this training, the Ministry of Defence encourages employers to consider providing extra leave, paid or unpaid, for the continuous training period.
Further information for employers is available at