Creating an Armed Forces policy shows an active commitment to supporting all members of the Armed Forces community within your workforce, ensuring that nobody is at any disadvantage due to their military status.
Your Armed Forces policy can benefit any reservists within your organisation by making their training commitments more manageable. The commitments of reservists vary between the services but can be anywhere between 9 and 27 days a year. This time is managed mainly on evenings and weekends, with one two-week annual camp either in the UK or abroad, and gives training in areas such as team building, leadership skills and courses. Although it is currently not mandated in England, it is recommended for employers to offer additional paid or unpaid leave for this two-week period so that a reservist does not have to use their annual leave allowance.
Take a look at what employers said about the benefits that reservists bring to the NHS workplace from their training in our evidence base report.
Creating your policy
The first step when thinking about creating an Armed Forces policy is to check to see if there are any existing policies in place at your organisation. These existing policies can then be reviewed to check that they are still relevant, and to consider if there is anything else that your organisation could offer. If any changes are to be made, or a new policy created, it will be important to get support from your board for approval. This is something that your Armed Forces champion could coordinate.
We have created a model policy that can be used as a guide for employers and can be adapted to suit specific organisations.
In some organisations, the Armed Forces policy falls within a wider policy, such as special leave, whereas others have a specific policy for members of the Armed Forces community. Certain organisations have adapted their Armed Forces policy to also cater towards the needs of the wider community, for example by offering leave periods for Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) who have similar training commitments to reservists, or to spouses and dependants when a member of their family is deployed, mobilised or during their return to civilian life. This can help in supporting the lives of individuals from this community and recognise any commitments that your organisation may have made under the Armed Forces Covenant.
As a guide, our model policy covers the following key areas:
- Legal framework
- Support for reservists during training and mobilisation
- Financial assistance and pension advice for employers
- Pay progression
- Support on return to work (demobilisation).
If you would like support in creating your Armed Forces policy, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.