NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.
New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.
Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.
If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.
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 Army Reserve and the Royal Air Force Reserve. This policy will also apply to Regular Reservists, who are ex-regulars who may retain a liability to be mobilised.
This policy applies to all employees of NHS Fife.
The responsibility for the application of the policy rests with Line Managers within NHS Fife and HR staff.
4. OPERATIONAL SYSTEM
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 Director of Workforce who is the designated contact for NHS Fife, who 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.
4.2 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.
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.
A greater understanding of the training and skills development carried out in the Reserve Forces will assist managers in conducting PDP procedures.
5.0 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 three 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.
- The Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2005 which outlines the financial awards available to the Reservist and the employer if the Reservist is mobilised.
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, eg 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 in the first instance. Employees who remain dissatisfied may thereafter use the grievance procedure.
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 Workforce 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 a compulsory mobilisation of any employee NHS Fife (following a similar process to 7.2 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.
8.0 FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR EMPLOYERS
8.1 Where an employee’s mobilisation results in additional costs the employer may seek compensation from the MOD eg:
- 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 MOD with appropriate supporting documentary evidence eg invoices.
8.4 The latest date for submitting claims for financial assistance, other than for training, is within four weeksof the date the Reservist is demobilised.
9.0 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 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.
10.0 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.
11.0 CARRY OVER OF ANNUAL LEAVE
11.1 All annual leave undertaken 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.
12.0 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) being 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.
13.0 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 Fifeis 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 Director of Workforce 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.
14.0 USEFUL SOURCES OF HELP
Defence Relationship Management
Tel: 01382 631 026
Scottish Public Pension Agency (SPPA)
7 Tweedside Park
Tel: 01896 893100
1. EXEMPTION AND DEFERRAL FROM MOBILISATION
1.1 NHS Fife has the right to ask for exemption from, or deferral of, mobilisation if it is considered that the organisation will suffer serious harm because of their absence.
The definition of ‘serious harm’ varies from case to case, but the broad guidelines laid out in CORFA 05 specifically mention:
- Serious loss of sales, markets, reputation, goodwill or other financial harm
- Serious impairment of the ability to produce goods or provide services
- Demonstrate harm to research and development of new products, services or processes, provided that the harm could not be prevented by the employer receiving financial assistance under CORFA 05
1.3 To be considered for exemption or deferral, the Reservist, or NHS Fife, must make an application, within seven days of the Reservist being served with a mobilisation notice, to the Service Adjudication Officer (SAO) for the Service in which the Reservist will serve. Late applications can only be made with the permission of the SAO appointed by the MOD. A serving officer or MOD official normally holds this post. Details of the correct SAO will be on the Reservist’s and NHS Fife’s notification letter.
Army Adjudication Officer
Mail Point 588
65 Brown Street
Tel: 0800 389 6585
Email: Christopher.Morris777@mod.gov.uk (correct as of March 2021)
Royal Naval and Royal Marines Adjudication Officer
MPG 1 West Battery
Email: Steve.Peake686@mod.gov.uk (correct as of March 2021)
RAF Adjudication Officer
HQ Personnel and Training Command
Fax: 01452 510949
The following information must be provided when applying for exemption or deferral:
- Personal details including full name, address, payroll and National Insurance number
- Details of the job or role they perform within NHS Fife
- The effect that their absence would have on NHS Fife and/or departmental business and/or service delivery
- Justification for exemption in terms of the serious harm to NHS Fife and their department
1.5 Once received, the application will be examined by the SAO who will decide if the case for exemption or deferral is acceptable. In making this decision, the SAO will seek to balance the needs of NHS Fife and employing department against the operational needs of the Armed Forces for which the Reservist has been mobilised.
1.6 An appeal can be made to the Reserve Forces Appeal Tribunal if NHS Fife is unhappy with the decision of the SAO. The SAO will provide information on making an appeal.
1.7 Reserve Forces Appeal Tribunals are independent of the MOD, with appointments made by the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor. Each tribunal consists of a legally qualified chairperson and two lay members drawn from a list held by the Employment Tribunals Service.
1.8 Appeals must be lodged with the office of the Secretary to the Tribunal no more than five working days after the SAO’s decision is received. Appeals can be faxed or posted first class
Address: Reserve Forces Appeal Tribunals
Directorate of Reserve Forces & Cadets
Ministry of Defence
Level 8, Zone E, Desk 12
MainBuilding, Horse Guards Avenue
LONDON, SW12 2HB
Tel: 020 7218 6854
Fax: 020 7218 5612
1.9 NHS Fife will be advised of the date, time and place of the hearing of the appeal. Where considered necessary, employers may be asked to provide the Tribunal with additional information in support of their case. Appeals are normally heard within 28 days of receipt of the appeal, during which time the Reservist will not be deployed outside the United Kingdom.
Appeals are normally held at the office of the Employment Tribunal Service nearest to the Board
Address: Employment Tribunal Service
215 Bothwell Street
GLASGOW, G2 7TS
Tel: 0141 204 0730
Fax: 0141 204 0732