HR must prepare for the call-up of thousands of army reservists as the
military build-up continues, experts warn.
In preparation for a possible war with Iraq, defence secretary Geoff Hoon
has called up 1,500 reservists, and, it is claimed, has plans to mobilise up to
7,000 more before the end of the month.
Richard Smith, corporate and training manager at Croner Consulting, said UK
plc needs to be aware of military demands.
By law, employers must allow staff who are called-up time off, but are
entitled to limited compensation and can appeal the mobilisation.
Smith warned: "Many business owners – and even some former service
people – do not appreciate that they could be called away at a few day’s notice
and may not be released for several weeks or even months."
Currently there are 46,500 volunteer reserves, and thousands of ex-service
personnel eligible for service.
If a reservist is called up they will receive a letter, accompanied by
notice for their employer outlining the date and possible duration of
mobilisation, and the employer’s statutory rights and obligations.
Legally, the Reserve Forces Act gives no statutory requirement for a warning
period prior to mobilisation, but will normally give a minimum of two weeks
Norman Hodges, HR director at Rank Leisure Machine Services, who is a
Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army and a former paratrooper in the
regular forces, said HR should identify which of their employees are
Then, he said, HR needs to look at the type of reservist their staff members
are to establish the likelihood of call-up.
Hodges said if reservists fulfil a crucial role in a company, managers need
to be aware of this.
"HR needs to know the legislation and how to get exception and
deferral," he said.
GOTO page 8 For a Q&A on reservists’ and employers’ rights
By Quentin Reade