Defence Reform Bill: Clause 45 – Unfair Dismissal of Reservists


Clause 45 focuses on the removal of the qualifying period before which a claim can be made for unfair dismissal at an Employment Tribunal.

  • Currently an individual cannot claim until they have completed 2 years continuous employment with their employer
  • Periods of mobilisations do not count towards continuous employment so it can take more than 2 years to gain this protection.
  • Reservists will be exempted from the statutory-two year qualifying period where the principle reason for dismissal is related to the employees reserve service.
To view Clause 45 of the Bill itself please go to: Defence Reform Bill (HC Bill 84)

To view an explanation of the clause in fuller detail please visit Explanatory Notes to Bills: defence reform bill Clause 45

Of particular interest are your comments on the practical implications of clause 45 of the Bill.
The issue that will also need to be addressed is discrimination PRIOR to employment. I was specifically told at a job interview last summer that I would not get the job if I intended staying in the TA. "Stick" is probably not the answer tho. The "Carrot" needs to be big enough that employers see a positive advantage in taking on Reservists. That needs to be a direct contribution to the bottom line, ongoing, not just when the Reservist mobilises. Hint. "Kite Marks" and "Training" will not cut the mustard. Cold Hard Cash will. Suggest as a start that employers are exempted NI payments on all serving Reservists.


Book Reviewer
Cold Hard Cash will. Suggest as a start that employers are exempted NI payments on all serving Reservists.

So who will pay YOUR NI Contributions?

Do you suggest the Defence Budget?

As soon as your employer pays you he takes YOUR NI contribution and Income Tax and pays it to HMRC It does not come out of your employers money, it's YOUR Income Tax and NI Contributions he's just collecting on behalf of HMRC.


Book Reviewer
Dear Mr Saladin,

Thank you for attending for interview. I regret to inform you that, due to the present economic circumstances, we have now had to decide to leave this post unfilled at this time. However we wish you well in your further search for employment.

Yours etc.

This after a rather cleverer interview in which you were encouraged to discuss your wider interests, but without any comment being made. Management then reorg slightly so as to absorb some of the job into others and readvertise a rather different spec in ways which will not attract a further bite from Mr Saladin.
Err, I suggest you check that chum. 13.8% Employers contribution on top of 12% Employee contribution for folk on over £149 a week. ( tax year 13/14)
Seaweed - Hence the need for a positive Carrot for employers to take on Reservists, not just a compensation should they be mobilised or taken away for training. It actually needs to show a positive balance on the Employers bottom line when Reservist Snodgrass is just trolling along doing his weekend and evening training.
I can't see this making any real impact, as very few employers are stupid enough to state out loud that they are binning someone for a reason that can attract a tribunal claim. This places the burden of evidence to prove a claim on the soldier, who, on tour or newly unemployed, is hardly in a position to take legal advice and run the process themselves. Anecdotally, those already dismissed for such reasons find it easier to crack on and find another job than waste time and money on a tribunal case that may not get anywhere.

To do this seriously would involve the MoD bringing proceedings on behalf of the soldier, or treating TA employment in the same manner as (say) pregnancy, placing the onus on the employer to prove that they have not acted improperly.

Other real issues this doesn't address include:

Still legal to refuse to employ someone in the TA;
Still legal to refuse to promote someone as they are in the TA (*);

So a positive step, but one so small it will do nothing.

(*) Example - Bloke I knew; promotion meant a change to 3 months notice contract from 1 month, TA on 1 month NTM, hence TA incompatible with promotion.

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