How much time do I need to commit to the Army Reserve?
Local Reserve units generally meet weekly and these contribute toward 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.
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 in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme and are eligible for food and travel subsidies while on duty. Reservists, their partners and children are entitled to an HM Forces Railcard which gives a 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 counterparts' equivalent salary.
Regular soldiers get paid an X-factor addition to pay that recognises the additional stresses and demands of Regular service life.
They can also claim the costs of additional benefits their civilian employer stops during the mobilised period such as accommodation, education fees and life insurance.
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 such as gym time or exercise classes.
Reservists can either join the British 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 three months before your birthday and up until the day before your 50th birthday – as a Reserve Soldier.
As an Officer, you can apply from three months before your 18th birthday up until three 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.
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 fewer tours available and the British 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.
Guidance on gov.uk states: "You or your employer can object if it would seriously adversely affect your family or work responsibilities". This can either result in a deferment, an exemption or cancellation of mobilisation.
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 that you are 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 an 'employer notification waiver' in certain circumstances which lasts for 12 months and can be renewed.
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, depending on how long they were employed for before deployment.
Can my employer claim money from the MOD while 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.
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.