Reservists train in Poland. Credit: Mark Owen, Crown Copyright
Army

All You Need To Know About Joining The Army Reserves

Ever wondered whether joining the Army Reserves is for you? Here's the answers to all your questions

Reservists train in Poland. Credit: Mark Owen, Crown Copyright

How Much Time Do I Need To Commit To The Army Reserve?

Local Reserve units generally meet weekly and these contribute towards the 27 days per year training requirement. Other training takes place over weekends and an annual two-week training camp.

Those with specialist skills may consider joining a national unit, for example as a cyber expert or a medical professional. Specialist units tend to have a lower annual training camp commitment of 19 days per year and may not have weekly ‘drill’ nights.

The Joint Cyber Reserve provides specialist tri-service support to its Regular Counterpart. Credit: Crown Copyright
ice support to its Reserves with specialist skills can join national Reserve units. Credit: Crown Copyright

What About Pay And Benefits?

Reservists get paid monthly for all training they do and like Regular soldiers, pay goes up with promotion and increment levels.

Reservists earn an annual, tax free bounty which increases with each year of service. In order to qualify personnel will need to meet time commitment targets and complete MATTs (Military Annual Training Tests). Part of the training time will need to be in a continuous time period (annual camp).

Reservists are enrolled into the Armed Forces Pension Scheme and are eligible for food and travel subsidies whilst on duty. Reservists, their partners and children are entitled to an HM Forces Railcard (34% discount on UK rail travel).

For those leaving Regular service there are large (up to £10,000) incentive payments for joining the Reserves.

When deploying on operations, Reservists can be paid the difference between their civilian salary and their Regular counterpart equivalent salary (Regular soldiers get paid an X-factor addition to pay that recognises the additional stresses and demands of Regular service life) and can also claim the costs of additional benefits their civilian employer stops during the mobilised period (such as accommodation, education fees and life insurance).

Army Reservist soldiers of the 4th Batallion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (4LANCS) train alongside the Italian Army. Credit: Sgt Andy Reddy, Crown Copyright
Army Reserve soldiers of the 4th Batallion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (4LANCS) train alongside the Italian Army. Credit: Sgt Andy Reddy, Crown Copyright

What About Fitness And Adventure Training?

Reservists are entitled to take part in Adventure Training and can claim pay towards time taking part in fitness-based activities (gym time or exercise classes).

Reservists can either join the Army Reserve as an Officer or Soldier. There is a Lead First scheme available for those already serving in the Reserves which means that you will train and serve as a full-time officer for up to 12 months on a Full Time Reserve Service contract.

What Are The Age Limits For Joining The Army Reserve?

You can join from the age of 18 (you can apply 3 months before your birthday and up until the day before your 50th birthday) as a Reserve Soldier. As an Officer you can apply from 3 months before 18th birthday up until 3 months before your 49th birthday.

For those who have served previously and wish to re-join as a soldier you can apply up until your 52nd birthday. Some specialist roles have a higher upper age limit.

Army Reserve soldiers undertake Public Order Training prior to deploying on the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Cyprus. Credit: Sgt Russ Nolan, Crown Copyright
Army Reserve soldiers undertake Public Order Training prior to deploying on the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Cyprus. Credit: Sgt Russ Nolan, Crown Copyright

Will I Deploy On Operations?

Reservists regularly deploy and serve alongside the Regular Army on operations worldwide. Since the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan there are less tours available and the Army will only compulsorily mobilise Reservists in times of extreme need but there are still plenty of opportunities for voluntary mobilisation on humanitarian and peacekeeping operations and particularly for those with specialist skills.

 ‘You or your employer can object if it would seriously adversely affect your family or work responsibilities’ (Gov.Uk Guidance) and this can either result in a deferment, an exemption or cancellation of mobilisation.

6 Regiment, Army Air Corps (6 AAC) Reservists conduct Under Slung Load (USL) training with Wildcat Helicopter. Credit: SSgt Si Longworth, AAC. Crown Copyright
6 Regiment, Army Air Corps (6 AAC) Reservists conduct Under Slung Load (USL) training with Wildcat Helicopter. Credit: SSgt Si Longworth, AAC. Crown Copyright

Can I Leave The Reserves?

You can decide to leave the Reserves at any time unless you are ‘mobilised’.

Do I Have To Tell My Employer I’m A Reservist?

You only have to tell your employer you’re a member of the Reserves if a condition of employment dictates you are not allowed to take on any other work.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will normally let an employer know within five weeks of you signing up (except in Northern Ireland) although reservists can apply for ‘employer notification waiver’ in certain circumstances which lasts for 12 months (and can be renewed).

Reserve soldiers have to be 'mobilised' into regular service for operational deployments. Credit: Sgt Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright
Reserve soldiers have to be 'mobilised' into regular service for operational deployments. Credit: Sgt Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright

Can My Employer Sack Me If I’m Deployed?

Employers must re-employ Reservists when they return from mobilisation (after their leave period) on the same terms and conditions or offer a reasonable alternative if the job no longer exists and must continue to employ them for a certain period of time, dependant on how long they were employed for before deployment.

Can My Employer Claim Money From The MOD Whilst I’m Mobilised?

There is financial assistance available to employers to cover the extra costs of finding and training a replacement and for extra support during the mobilised period and for when the Reservist returns to work.

Army Reservist takes notes during exercise. Credit: Sgt Andy Reddy, Crown Copyright
Army Reservists can't be sacked by their employers if they deploy on operations. Credit: Sgt Andy Reddy, Crown Copyright

Does My Employer Have To Give Me Time Off For Training?

Employers don’t have to but many businesses choose to give either paid or unpaid leave to enable their employees to fulfil their training requirements as part of the Armed Forces Covenant. Employers are not allowed to make you redundant due to training or mobilisation requirements.