Territorial Army – can prospective employers ask if you are a member?

Apparently the coalition government is currently thinking about bringing in legislation which will ban prospective employers from asking anyone at a job interview if they are a member of the Territorial Army or any of the other Reserve Forces.

Why? As part of the government’s plan to cut the number of full-time members of the Armed Forces, they are also considering sharply increasing the number of trained military part-timers – even existing plans mean that by 2020, the UK Army should consist of 112,000 soldiers – but only 82,000 will be full timers, with the remaining 30,000 to be part-time reservists.

However government plans to increase the number of reservists could be hampered by reports that some members of the reserve forces have difficulty getting full-time employment – there are two reasons suggested for this;

1. Some employers don’t want the risk of knowing member of staff could be called up at any time for active military duty

2. Many employers are reluctant, particularly in a time of recession, to see the business disrupted by a staff member’s additional absence for reservist military training – although any reservist may have to take this time off as part of their normal annual leave entitlement – employers have no obligation to grant leave for military training, whether it be paid or unpaid

So the government is considering simply stopping employers from being able to ask whether you are a Forces Reservist at all – presumably introducing it as a new ground for illegal discrimination. Some employers still ask outright if people are Reservists – but it’s more likely to be caught at the moment by an all-encompassing question of “do you have any other work”.

Still, the idea remains just a thought at the moment – only time will tell if the government actually decides to bring it in as law.