You may have heard the news that Reservists will be used for security purposes during the Olympic games such as in this BBC article.

While the use of Reserve Forces has been common place by other countries during the last few Games, it may come as a surprise to some employers who may not have considered that they may be losing an employee for anywhere between one month to three months on this important task.

Importantly the Secretary of State, Philip Hammond, has confirmed that only Reservists with ‘supportive employers’ will be mobilised in order to lessen any burden on business.  Defence will use a process called Intelligent Selection to identify Reservists who have the training, skills and availability for mobilisation, in order to minimise the impact of mobilisation on the individual, their family and their employer.  It is also worth noting that employers will also receive financial assistance up to a maximum of £110 per day to cover any costs for replacing their employee while they are away.

The numbers are still to be confirmed but the last count put the number of Reservists being mobilised somewhere between approximately 1,750 and 2,100.

SaBRE has put some additional information together for employers which explains, in more detail, why the Reserve Forces are being used and some important details for anyone who has an employee called out to support this once in a generation event. 

The main points employers need to be aware of are:

• Most Reservists will be mobilised for one month from mid-July to mid-August.  There will however be a minority mobilised for three months from mid-June.

• Call out notices will be sent to employers 60 days prior to mobilisation which should give them plenty of time to find replacement staff.

• The Safeguard of Employment Act 1985 places a legal obligation to hold a Reservist’s job and reinstate the Reservist on completion of mobilised service, if it is reasonable and practical to do so.

• Employers have the right to apply for exemption from their employee’s mobilisation and for financial assistance. 

• Reservists who have been mobilised in the last three years are unlikely to be considered for mobilisation to support the Olympics.

More information on can be found here on the SaBRE website.

Like most of us here in the UK, this is the first time that I will have the opportunity to view this amazing international sporting event on my doorstep.  There are many ways to show support for the Olympics, and all employers who show their support by enabling their Reservist employee to take part in keeping the nation safe should be applauded.

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