The challenges if reservists are called to arms

Following the announcement of the Government’s plans to call up thousands of
reservists, Croner Consulting offers answers to some frequently-asked questions

Q Do I have to pay my employee while they are away on service?

A The short answer is no. Reservist employees may be able to claim a
Reservists Standard Award for loss of earnings and other financial benefits,
however any awards made are subject to statutory limits, depending on their
rank or specialist skills.

Q What happens to their occupational pension while they are away?

A If the employee belongs to an occupational pension scheme they are
entitled to remain a member. The Ministry of Defence will pay the employers
contribution, providing that the employee continues to pay their contribution.

Q I need to employ an extra person to cover the workload that will be
left when my employee is on active service. Is there any financial help
available to my business to help cover costs?

A Employers who incur extra expenditure as a result of an employee
being called on active service may claim an Employers Standard Award. This
covers:

– The initial cost of replacing the employee subject to a ceiling of 6 per
cent of the reservist’s salary or £2,400, whichever is less

– Continuing expenses, subject to a ceiling of 4 per cent of salary or £31
per week, whichever is less

– A standard administration fee of £55

Claims for the Standard Award must be made within four weeks of the
reservists’ being accepted for service.

Q What happens if my employee is away for a long period of time, is there
any extra help available?

A Further hardship awards can be applied for during prolonged
absence. Hardship requests must be made within eight weeks of the reservist
being accepted for service.

Q. When my employee returns to work after active service and needs
retraining can I get financial assistance to help cover costs?

A In addition to the two other awards, employers may also claim up to
£2,000 towards retraining the employee. Retraining must be taken within eight
weeks of the employee returning to work.

Q. Can I challenge the call-up of a reservist if I feel it will damage my
business?

A To obtain exemption, you must be able to show that the absence of
the reservist would cause serious harm to the business or undertaking in which
the reservist is employed, or to a partner, proprietor or employee of that
business or undertaking. While the definition of serious harm will vary from
case to case, the regulations mention:

– The serious loss of sales, markets, reputation, goodwill or other
financial harm

– The serious impairment of the ability to produce goods or provide services

– Demonstrable harm to research and development of new products, services or
processes, provided that the harm could not be prevented by the employer being
given financial assistance

www.sabre.mod.uk

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