Reserve Forces Training and Mobilisation Policy

Document Control

Policy Number

HR29

Policy Manual/System HR Policy
Author HR Directorate  Version No 2
Reviewer HR Policy Group  Implementation Date 01/04/2013
Signed By Director of HR, Employee Director  Last Review Date

Next Review Date
01/12/2012

01/12/2014

 

1. FUNCTION

The prime aim of this policy is to ensure that NHS Fife’s obligations are met is respect of employees who are member of, or wish to join the Volunteer Reserve Forces in line with legislation and that employees are clear about their personal obligations to NHS Fife.

 

2. LOCATION

This policy applies to all employees of NHS Fife. 

 

3. RESPONSIBILITY

The responsibility for the application of the policy rests with Line Managers within NHS Fife and HR staff.

 

4. OPERATIONAL SYSTEM

4.1 NHS Fife supports employees who are members of or wish to join the Volunteer Reserve Forces.  These consist of the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR), the Territorial Army (TA) and the Reserve Air Forces (RAFR and RAuxAF).  This policy will also apply to Regular Reservists, who are ex-regulars who may retain a liability to be mobilised.

4.2 Employees who wish to take advantage of the provisions contained within this policy must inform NHS Fife that they are a Reservist by contacting the individual identified at Appendix 2. The designated contact for NHS Fife will keep a register of all employees who are members of the volunteer forces and will ensure that the individual’s line manager is aware of their membership of the volunteer forces and the implications of this. 

4.3 This policy will also apply to High Readiness Reserves (HRR) and Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRF), both of whom must inform NHS Fife of their status given the relatively short notice of deployment.  High Readiness Reserves will also require written consent from NHS Fife if they work more than two days per week before they are able to hold this status.

4.4 The training undertaken by Reservists enables them to develop skills and abilities that can be of benefit to them as employees, and to NHS Fife in terms of service delivery.

4.5 A greater understanding of the training and skills development carried out in the Reserve Forces will assist managers in conducting PDP procedures.

 

5. THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK

5.1 In most instances an employer’s relationship with a Reservist member of staff should be like that of any other employee.  However, there are areas where a Reservist’s status may affect the operations of the organisation.  Legislation exists to define the rights and liabilities that apply to both parties.

5.2 There are two main pieces of legislation relating to employers and the Volunteer Reserve Forces.

  • The Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96) which provides the powers under which Reservists can be mobilised for full-time service.
  • The Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 (SOE 85) which provides protection of employment for those liable to be mobilised and reinstatement for those returning from mobilised service.

 

6. PRACTICAL SUPPORT FOR TRAINING

6.1 Paid leave of two weeks per year will be made available to Reservists to attend annual camp or equivalent continuous training.

6.2 Additional unpaid leave or annual leave from the employees normal annual allocation of up to 3 days will be granted for short periods of training, provided adequate notice is given and where such training cannot be undertaken in off-duty time.  Attendance at weekend camps, which cannot be undertaken during off-duty, will be subject to the same arrangements.

6.3 Line managers will as far as possible facilitate work rosters to allow attendance for annual camp and other training commitments, e.g. weekly or weekend training sessions.

6.4 Reservist employees should give as much notice as possible to allow appropriate planning for absences.  Permission will be granted where the notice exceeds one month and should normally be granted in other circumstances.  Permission once given will not be rescinded except in exceptional and extreme circumstances.

6.5 Any disputes should be referred to the designated contact, the Director of Human Resources, in the first instance.  Employees who remain dissatisfied may thereafter use the Dealing with Employee Grievances Policy.


7. MOBILISATION

7.1 Mobilisation is the process of calling reservists into full-time service.  (i) With the Regular Forces on the military operations (ii) To fulfil their part of the UK’s defence strategy.  The Reserve Forces Act 1996 provides the legal basis for mobilisation.  In the past this has usually been done on a voluntary basis with the prior agreement of employers but can involve compulsory mobilisation of selected personnel.  Subject to the severity of the crisis there would normally be a minimum of 30 days’ notice.  Mobilisation will normally be for between 3 and 12 months.  For operational reasons the MOD are unable to give the employer a precise return date.

7.2 An employee who wishes to volunteer for mobilisation must seek prior agreement of NHS Fife via the Director of Human Resources and line manager.  Any such request will be considered within 48 hours.

7.3 Where there are multiple requests in a single department/unit these will be referred to the appropriate Senior Manager.

7.4 Where there is compulsory mobilisation of any employee NHS Fife (following a similar process to 4.2 above) will decide whether to seek exemption or deferral.  The grounds of exemption are strictly limited and would have to show serious harm to NHS Fife’s ability to provide services.  NHS Fife will only seek exemption in very exceptional circumstances.

7.5 Additional information regarding exemption and deferral from mobilisation is contained in Appendix 1.

 

8. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR EMPLOYERS

8.1 Where an employee’s mobilisation results in additional costs the employer may seek compensation from the MOD e.g.

  • Overtime costs if another employee is used to cover the work of the Reservist.
  • Any costs of hiring a temporary replacement that exceeds the Reservist’s earnings.
  • Advertising for replacement or agency costs.
  • Training costs for any training the employee needs as a result of having been mobilised (the MOD will not pay for training that we would have carried out anyway) when they return to work to carry out their duties properly.

8.2 While the Reservist is mobilised, NHS Fife is not obliged to pay them earnings.  However, staff who are mobilised will receive their full salary from NHS Fife from the time of the call-up until the first full monthly salary has been paid by the MoD.  This is to ensure that the individual is provided with sufficient time to put their financial affairs in order and provide the MoD with sufficient time to process the respective salary entitlement.  The excess salary paid after the date of mobilisation will be recoverable when the individual returns to work.  The designated contact for the Board should ensure that the pay department is notified that the employee is being mobilised and the date when their pay should stop.

8.3 In order to claim financial assistance NHS Fife will provide the Ministry of Defence with appropriate supporting documentary evidence e.g. invoices.

8.4 The latest date for submitting claims for financial assistance, other than for training, is within four weeks of the date the Reservist is demobilised.

 

9. NHS PENSION WHILST ON ACTIVE SERVICE

9.1 A Reservist who is called out is entitled to remain a member of the NHS Pension Scheme.  The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will pay the employer’s pension contributions whilst the individual is mobilised provided they continue to pay their individual contributions.  Where mobilisation occurs the employee will be given special unpaid leave of absence.  The employee’s pension contributions would be calculated and held over until the employee returns.  These would then be recovered monthly from salary and over the same period as the employee was absent.  NHS Fife will continue, on request of the employee, to pay employer’s contributions to the NHS Pension Scheme for the period of mobilisation and invoice the MOD to recover this amount.  Advice on the NHS Pension Scheme can be sought from SPPA. 

 

10. ANNUAL LEAVE WHILST MOBILISED

10.1 Reservists have no entitlement to accrue annual leave whilst mobilised and on unpaid leave.

10.2 Reservists will have a period of ‘post tour’ leave which they accrue at the rate of 2.5 days per month of service from the MOD.  This leave will be taken before the individual is demobilised.


11. CARRY OVER OF ANNUAL LEAVE

11.1 All annual leave untaken up to the date of mobilisation may be carried over into the following leave year.  The “up to a maximum of 5 days” rule associated with untaken annual leave being carried forward is waived in the case of a reservist. 

 

12. KSF GATEWAY REVIEW & ANNUAL PDP REVIEW

12.1 Where an employee is absent from work following mobilisation, the service will be considered continuous and an employee will not be penalised if it coincides with their pay band gateway.  This would be completed on the employees return and backdated to the employee’s normal incremental date.

12.2 Line managers who carry out PDPR meetings with a reservist should be made aware that the Volunteer Reserve Forces activities undertaken by an individual (either through training or mobilisation) bring essential skills into the workplace such as leadership, communication, team-working and organisational ability, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace.  It is therefore good practice that we recognise these skills and abilities in an individual’s PDPR meeting and acknowledge that the activities can be regarded as evidence of achievement or in some circumstances contribute towards an individual being in a position to evidence application of knowledge and skills at the next level of a KSF Dimension.  These principles will also apply to reservists not employed on Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

 

13. SUPPORT ON RETURN TO WORK (DEMOBILISATION)

13.1 Demobilisation may be a difficult time, with a Volunteer Reservist returning to work after a challenging period in deployment.  Helping to ensure a smooth re-integration into the workplace/team will require consideration:

  • The need to update them on changes and developments in the organisation.
  • The need to offer specific refresher training where it is sought/considered necessary.
  • Where the job duties have changed since mobilisation a period of skills training may be required to assist them with new aspects of the job.
  • Whether the Reservist can meet up with colleagues informally or socially (if appropriate) before or after return to work to prevent any feeling of dislocation, if this is sought.
  • Reasonable time off to seek therapeutic treatment.

13.2 When NHS Fife is advised by a Reservist that they want to return to work, NHS Fife is obliged to employ them in their old job as stated in The Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985.  Where this is not possible, they must be offered an equivalent position with the same terms and conditions of service.  The right to return to work lasts for six months after demobilisation.

13.3 To enable NHS Fife to plan for their return to work after their military service has ended, Reservists must advise the designated Board contact in writing, copied to their line manager, the date they will be available to start work.  This communication should be made no later than the third Monday after the completion of military service.

13.4 NHS Fife must be advised as soon as possible, if, due to illness or some other reasonable cause, the employee is unable to start work on the agreed date.

 

14. REVIEW

14.1 This policy will be monitored and reviewed every two years or sooner in light of any legislative changes and in line with NHS Fife changes.

 

15. USEFUL SOURCES OF HELP

SABRE (Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers) Helpline for Reservists and Employers           
Tel: 0800 389 5459  www.sabre.mod.uk

 

Scottish Public Pension Agency (SPPA)
7 Tweedside Park
Tweedside
GALASHIELS
TD1 3TE

Tel: 01896 893100  www.sppa.gov.uk

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