TA and The Employer

I am aware of the bad feeling by some employers of the TA who were happy to release their personnel for Op TELIC to warfight rather than just to stand in for a shortage of regular personnel on Op TELIC 2 and beyond.

This begs the question when going for a job - do you tell your potential employer about being in the TA or do you leave it until you have the job, or not tell them at all unless you have to ?

The nightmare scenario is if employers in small companys make informing them that you are in the TA as a condition of employment. This will not help TA personnel when going for a new job !!!!!!

Grateful for any views and comments.
I suspect that the NHS will be one of the first to start making it difficult for staff to be in the reserve forces.

Clearly the current legislation is not robust enough.  Perhaps it should be amended to make discrimination on the grounds of an individual being a reservist unlawful, both at recruitment and in employment.  

There may also be a need for the circumstances when reservists can be compulsorily called up to be reviewed, or more FTRS opportunities.
Unfortunately it is rapidly becoming the case that No, you don't tell them unless you are forced into it.  

I was made redundant last year and one of the reasons given was my membership in the TA.  This from a company that worked for the Army too - go figure !!

I know of a number of soldiers who have been given the choice - TA or Job at their annual / six monthly reviews.

Unless something is done via legislation and via public perception, recruiting and retention for the TA is going to get much much harder
This thread is actually right up my street, i was called for Telic 1 and my employer appealled against and won (anyone know of any employer who didnt?) I took a major sad on and resigned 4 weeks later to start a new job, promotion the lot. Guess what?

Called for Telic 2. Luckily i had told my new employer at interview that i was in the TA told him my annual commitment and how it didnt affect work blah blah blah, he made a few calls to guys who know me and previously worked with me and they confirmed my story, shit hit the fan when the papers dropped again

"**** letting you go when theres no war .....etc.."

Bottom line as various sources have told me and expressed views on the fact that it now looks as though the MOD are using the TA as an "agency" for temp soldiers to fill in the gaps when required. I for one now cant go on any mobilisation due to my employment and feel i can no longer stay in the TA because of this as it's:
a) Unfair to the guys who dont get the call.
b)Why take the money for ne return when push comes to shove.
c) What chance do i have for further promotion in my work now.
I still enjoy the TA after 10 years and feel i still have plenty to offer as im only 30.

Any thoughts?
Posted by: Stab_Sapper Posted on: Jul 7th, 2003, 9:59pm
Bottom line as various sources have told me and expressed views on the fact that it now looks as though the MOD are using the TA as an "agency" for temp soldiers to fill in the gaps when required.

What a great analogy.  And you're quite right.  The MOD must realise that while the vast majority of us are prepared to serve when required we are not a temping agency and cannot continue in this half hearted fashion.  

I had real problems when I was looking for a permanent job at the beginning of the year having just come back from a mobilisation to Bosnia.  Every single interviewer asked whether I was going to be called up for Iraq and a number implied durign feedback that this was a major concern to them and a key reason not to employ me.

Until the government are prepared to protect us fully (why, for example, is it up to an individual to bring an action against an employer who dismisses them while mobilised?  The MoD should do this.) good people are going to leave in increasing numbers as they cannot justify what is being asked of them by both their employers
Ah ha, didnt actually see that thread.

All kidding aside if we aint protected as we should be i foresee the end of the TA as we know it, god forbid.
The nightmare scenario is if employers in small companys make informing them that you are in the TA as a condition of employment.
Once again, the man is spot on. As a small employer myself (I am only 4"1  ;D ), I now ask the question as part of the interview process. I have zero issues with TA / reservists being called up for conflicts, I have big issues with having to hold an employees job open for 6 months because HMJokerment is making him stand in for the regs.

Unfortunately it is rapidly becoming the case that No, you don't tell them unless you are forced into it.
Sorry, breach of contract, immediate dismissal for gross misconduct (lying at the interview)

As much of a b*stard as it is, the employer has got to protect the company. My opinion with TA / Reservists being called up for “war” duties is “fcuking great, good luck to em and good lad for doing it”. I am prepared to take that risk with an employee as long as that risk is in the interests of (excuse the americanism) “national security”, i.e., their service is in aid of a conflict where the national interest is at stake and the regular army is overstretched due to the size of the ongoing conflict.

What I won’t accept is the possibility of a TA employee being called up, at any time, for up to 6 months to fill in for the regs in a “policing” action because HMG has made a monumental fcuk up in manning levels.

Think of it from a small employers point of view. I take on Mr A, I spend several K training Mr A, just for me to lose him for 6 months because Bliar can’t get his act together with the regs manning levels.

During the 6 months he is away, I am shafted. I can’t take on another full time employee as no-one is going to want a 6 month contract (not in my game anyway), people want long term job security. As a small company, using temp agencies is a joke, they will charge up to £200.00 a day for qualified people, therefore making it uneconomical to use them. The proverbial rock and a hard place. There is no way I am going to lie to a “stand in” and make him believe that his position is permanent because at the end of the day, you are screwing with peoples mortgages, families and livelihoods.

Subcontracting the work out is a none starter, other companies capable of doing what we do charge the same labour rates. As the majority of our profit (and therefore working capital) comes from those labour rates, the figures don't add up.

The employer has a responsibility to all of his other employees. A degree of continuity must be kept and the financial stability of the company must be assured. If I lost 2 on my guys tomorrow (and I have 2 TA bods and one Navy reserve on my books), my profit margin (if I used temps) would decrease by £600.00 a week. That means someone in the office and a trainee get the boot, meaning more paperwork for me, going back "on the tools", less productivity, the nightmare of having to familiarise 2 new “temps”, less time for me to get new customers, even less profit because of that, the cycle goes on.

The govs compensation scheme is a joke to small employers, it takes forever to process and even longer for them to pay. In the meantime your cashflow has gone t1ts up and you end up with a bankrupt company that’s owed thousands by the gov.

Without being condescending, it can be quite hard for employees to see exactly what the problem is, certainly up until the point that I was an employer, I always thought that my boss must live in a house made of gold, after all, he was charging me out at £200 a day and yet only paying me £70, surely £130.00 a day straight into his pocket?

Nope, £130 quid to go towards office staff, rent, phones, fuel, vehicles, tax etc etc.

My "first 3" employees are charged out at £180 a day. They make me nothing, zero, zilch. What they make above their wages pays for the administrational side of the company, things like office rent, office staff wages, fuel, insurance etc, etc. If I’m paying temps or sub contractors £180.00 a day to stand in for them, who's paying the admin costs whilst I am waiting for HMG to cough up?

Don’t ask me what the answer is ‘cause I don’t know. I suppose the simplest would be for a FAST compensation scheme to be set up for losing employees to The Colours, where the FULL cost of temp replacement, training, profit loss etc was covered, with immediate (i.e. within 30 days) payouts to small employers. Until that’s set in stone, all small businesses are going to be very wary of taking on TA / Reservists.

Oh look, was that a pig that just flew past?
And just to address this one

Until the government are prepared to protect us fully (why, for example, is it up to an individual to bring an action against an employer who dismisses them while mobilised?  The MoD should do this.)
Again, sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but all this would do is ensure that you get the letter saying "Thankyou for your interest in this position, unfortunately we are currently unable to offer you" etc, etc. If an employer thinks that a prospective employee may end him up with a lawsuit against the MOD, not going to touch with a 50 mile barge pole. After all, how are you going to prove that you were “better suited” to the job? I have heard the race card played on this one through case studies with the Chamber of Commerce, where people of an ethnic background have claimed that they were discriminated against because of their colour. Without fail, the employer in a small business will win simply by saying that another candidate was equally qualified and that the employer liked him more, therefore knowing that he would more easily fit into the “team”. In a small company, where day to day personal interaction is required, this is a reasonable defence and claiming that the decision was racists is a racist statement in itself.

Thanks for your comments - but where do we go from here if we want a deployable and usable TA ?

I accept that mistakes have been made re the last call out and that there has been much over egging of the pudding so to speak, but we both known the reasons why.

That said, what can the MOD do to ensure sufficient TA call out legislation when required but at the same time protect our reservists when going for jobs ?

I suppose the simplest would be for a FAST compensation scheme to be set up for losing employees to The Colours,
A good idea but expensive to the MOD and very difficult to set a base line to prevent some taking advantage.

Is there anything else the MOD can do ? Views welcome !
Totally agree. Don't think for one second that I am condoning the way that things are; I really do wish that they could be better.

All I can do is tell you the way that it is, like I said, I have no quick fix.

I have been into numerous C of C and FSB meetings where this has been raised and, "off the record" company owners have plainly said to me that they would NOT employ a TA / reservist soldier. There’s no point whingeing about that being illegal, prove it first!

Emotions can get in the way here and as a "poacher turned gamekeeper" I can see both sides of the fence. Unfortunately, the concept of honouring "Queen & Country" cuts no ice with most small employers, they might like the “cut of your jib”, but all they actually care about is you making them money. Until a bomb lands on their heads, they consider any conflict to be a "far away war", that other people will deal with and you won’t be missed. It is a distraction that is watched on Sky news. Their commercial interests take precedence. I suppose that I am also guilty of this nowadays and I am one of the understanding ones!

Like it or not, honour, service, duty etc, etc means sweet FA to a money making body. You might not like to hear that, but it is reality. Another Blitz might change that attitude, but I don't think that there is one due anytime soon. We aren’t going to change a capitalist infrastructure by bitching about how bad it was that we weren’t allowed to go to the Gulf for 6 months, 2 months after the main conflict had ended.

I would think though, that it would be cheaper for the MOD to set up a "fixed rate" compensation scheme for employers, dependant upon trade, where employers are compensated for the loss of their TA / reservist staff, than it would be to train and keep 3 times as many TA staff to make up for the number that will be "knocked back" due to the employer appealing and winning? After all, what is the point at keeping the TA at it’s current manning levels if 2/3rds of their strength can be “excused” from duty just because their employer appeals?

Then again, you could make it mandatory and relieve employers of that right. See the post above where no TA guys get jobs!

Surely a proper and workable compensation scheme would make the TA more attractive to civvies as they would not have the worry of contemplating whether TA membership would jeopardise any future employment or career advancement?
ORG is absolutely right on this one, for a small employer it is simply not possible to run a small company and stay in the black if compensating for the loss of someone deployed with the TA.

You have to take on temps otherwise a person taken on to fill thier place will have employess rights, after a certain period of time, and even if useless are difficult to get rid off if towing the PC line.

I couldn't take someone on a fixed term contract as TA tours are the same as Regs tours and you cannot be gauranteed a return to work date.

Maybe the solution is a faster compensation scheme, but experience has taught me to take on self employed subbies rather than have the nightmare of employing people on a full time basis.

Off topic but an example, one of my girls went off Pregnant three months ago........... Im still paying her out, and her temp replacement and as yet not recieved a penny in return, OK Im lucky that here is a reserve to work with but how many companies work to thier financial limit.

As much as it pains me to admit, I am with ORG in the belief that employing a member of the TA, RN reserve (apart from crabs as they wouldn't get a job anyway ;D) can only lead to the potential disruption and possible destruction of your company. This matter makes my blood boil, after all these guys are prepared to do thier own job of work then go and chip in and play soldiers, they deserve better.

Botom line and one thats admitted with a sense of disloyalty etc, I wouldn't employ someone who when asked said they were a member of the part time forces. Not because I have animosity towards them, simply because alot of work and effort has gone into my company and cannot afford to pay peoples wages for work they haven't done, im also not a loan company for HMG while they get thier act together and pay out Compensation
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