Reservists given extra protection from dismissal - Palmers Solicitors

Reservists given extra protection from dismissal

Forces reservists have been given additional employment protection following a change in the law.

The new legislation, which took effect on 1 October 2014, means that reservists are now exempt from the two year-qualifying period for bringing unfair dismissal claims to an employment tribunal if the reason, or primary reason for dismissal, was their reservist status.

Previously, reservists were at a disadvantage in claiming unfair dismissal as time spent on active service or forces training did not count towards continuous service with their employer.

The measure reinforces protection for reservists already provided by the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985, which makes it a criminal offence for an employer to terminate a reservist’s job consent solely or mainly because of their liability to be mobilised on active service. It also gives reservists the legal right to be reinstated to their job when they return from mobilisation, subject to certain conditions.

Meanwhile, from 1 October small and medium-sized businesses will be able to claim financial incentives of up to £500 a month per mobilised reservist under the Employer Incentive Payments scheme.

The payments will be made on top of existing financial assistance to help cover costs including those linked to replacing reservists when they are mobilised and retraining costs when they return to work.

Lara Murray, associate solicitor in Palmers’ Employment Law team, said: “While these are important changes from the perspective of anyone who employs a reservist, they have had a fairly low key introduction. This creates a risk that many businesses will not be aware of them and also demonstrates how challenging it can be for employers to stay up-to-date with constantly evolving employment legislation.

“Our Employment Law team can provide expert guidance to employers on putting in place compliant employment policies and procedures, and assist them in staying up to date on changes in employment legislation, while our HR package also offers regularly updated sample policies for matters such as flexible working and parental leave.”

For more information about our employment law services or our HR package, please visit our website or contact Lara Murray.