Reserve Forces

The Reserve Forces, also known as Reservists, train and serve alongside the Regular Forces, combining a military role with a civilian career.  Reserve Aces includes members of the Royal Naval Reserves, the Royal Marine Reserves, the Army Reserves (Territorial Army) and the Royal Air Force Reserves.  As Reserves, they may be mobilised at any time for full time operations, and will be required to attend training.

The following guidance is provided for:

  • managers of staff who are members of Reserve forces and
  • staff who are members of Reserved forces

In specific cases, managers should consult their Human Resources Business Partner.


Under the Employer Notification system, Reservists must give the MoD permission to write directly to the University.  The Employer Notification will confirm the employee's membership of the Reserve Forces; details of mobilisation obligations; the rights of the Reservist employee and employer; details of financial assistance available if an employee is mobilised, and, where possible, the Reservist's annual training commitments.  The University will then receive annual follow-up letters confirming the Reservist's continued commitment as a Reservist.

On the recommendation of the SaBRE (Support for Britain's Reservists and Employers), the University would like to encourage open and honest dialogue with Reservist members of staff.  Therefore, we ask that Reservists inform the University, via their line managers, whether they are a member of the Reserve Forces, considering renewing their Reservists commitment or are interested in joining the Reserve Forces.

Please note Reservists must seek approval from their employer if they intend to volunteer for High Readiness Reservist status as this makes them liable to be redeployed with minimal notice.

Training commitments and time off

Although there is no legal obligation for employers to give Reservists paid leave to engage in their Reservists duties, the University values the transferable skills gained by members of staff who are Reservists and will therefore grant 5 days paid leave (pro rata for part time employees) per leave year for attendance at annual camp or equivalent continuous training exercises (this is in additional to the member of staff's normal leave entitlement).  Any additional period should be taken from annual leave (see conditions of employment).


  • If you are a reservist who is mobilised, you should speak to your Human Resources Business Partner at the earliest opportunity and provide them with a copy of the 'Call out for Mobilisation' notification letter.  This will normally be approximately 28 days notice of the date of mobilisation, however, the University recognises that this may vary depending on the severity and immediacy of the crisis.
  • The University will comply with its responsibilities under the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 in respect of staff who are reservists who are mobilised.
  • The University will normally grant unpaid leave to staff who are reservists who are mobilised, but reserves the right to apply for exemption or deferral or revocation in appropriate circumstances.
  • If unpaid leave is approved, this will be confirmed in writing by your HR Business Partner.
  • During the period of unpaid leave, staff will not accrue annual leave.
  • A College or Service which is considering apply for exemption or deferral or revocation of the mobilisation (on the grounds that “the Reservist's absence will cause serious harm to your business”) should consult with their HR Business Partner. Applications will be made by Human Resources and need to be made within 7 days of the Reservist being served with a call out notice.  Details of the process and included in the call out pack.
  • Further guidance is available from the SaBRE website.

During Mobilisation

Annual Leave

  • In line with MoD guidelines, Reservists are encouraged to take any accrued annual leave before mobilisation.
  • Reservist members of staff will not accrue annual leave during the period of mobilisation.  This is beaus Reservists accrue annual leave with the MoD whilst they are in full time service - when they demobilize Reservists are entitled to a period of post-operational leave paid by the MoD.
  • While there is no entitlement to carry forward leave, the University recognises certain situations where it is not possible for employees to take their leave entitlement.  In such cases they may, with the permission of their College Dean/Head of Service or other Senior Manager, carry forward up to 5 days leave to the following year.  Any leave carried forward must be taken by 30 April in the following year or it will be lost.


  • During mobilisation, the employee will receive no salary from the University.  The MoD will assume responsibility of the Reservists salary, paying a basic rate according to the Reservist's rank.  It is the Reservist's responsibility to claim the difference from the MoD if Service pay is less than what the Reservist would receive from the University.


  • Under the rules of the USS pension scheme:
    • unpaid leave for military service (classified as “absence due to work of national importance”) of up to one year does not require the agreement of USS but if the period is to be longer than this then agreement from USS will need to be obtained by the Pay and Benefits Manager in Human Resources.
    • while you are on unpaid leave for military service, no employer or employee contributions will be made. However, on your return from leave, you can choose to pay back employee contributions for the period you have been on leave so that this period counts as pensionable service. If you choose to pay the employee contributions, the University will pay the employer contributions.
    • while you are on unpaid leave for military service, you will continue to be covered in full for the benefits under USS and any benefits that become payable whilst you are away will be based on the pensionable salary you were earning before you commenced your leave and will be based on the pensionable service completed before leave commenced.
    • For further information see USS factsheet 4 on the USS website.
  • Under the rules of the ERBS pension scheme:
    • the University must approve you remaining an active member of the scheme during your unpaid leave for military service. The ERBS trustee will be requested to agree to a continuation in full of the death in service benefits offered by the scheme at the commencement date of your absence. The Pay and Benefits Manager in Human Resources will be responsible for contacting the ERBS trustee.
    • while you are on unpaid leave for military service, no employer or employee contributions will be made and the period of absence will not count as pensionable service. However, alternative arrangements can be agreed with the University whereby contributions are made so that this period counts as pensionable service - your College/Service should discuss this with the Pay and Benefits Manager in Human Resources.
  • Under the rules of the NHS pension scheme:
    • if an employee is called up for active service, they will be regarded as being on authorised leave of absence and the period of absence will count as pensionable service.
    • For the duration of their call-out, employer and employee contributions will paid on the level of remuneration in payment immediately prior to call-out.
    • The University will reclaim the employer contributions from the Ministry of Defence. It is also possible for the Ministry of Defence to arrange for the employee's contributions to be deducted from their salary and reimbursed to the University.
    • For more information, refer to the NHSPS leaflet for Reservists.


  • SaBRE (Supporting Britain's Reservists and Employers) strong encourages Reservists to maintain contact with their employer whilst they are mobilised.  Prior to mobilisation your line manager will meet with you to discuss arrangements for keeping in touch.


After being demobilised, Reservists are entitled to a period of leave from the MoD.  This is accrued at the rate of 2.5 days per month of service.  During this period of leave it is the Reservist's responsibility to contact the University and ask for reinstatement to their former job.  In line with MoD guidelines this must be no later than the third Monday after demobilisation.  At the same time, or within 21 days of this third Monday following demobilisation, the Reservist must contact their Human Resources Business Partner to give a date on which they will be available to return to work.  The University will ensure that the member of staff is reinstated in their former job as soon as reasonably practicable from that date.