If a Reservist employee is called up for service

Reservists: mobilisation and initial call-out procedure


The call-up of Reservists into full-time service alongside the regular Armed Forces is referred to as 'mobilisation'. Reservists usually serve abroad but can also be deployed in the UK, eg during a national emergency.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) chooses Reservists for service using the 'intelligent selection' process. This is based on Reservists' skills and experience, personal and employment circumstances.

Initial call-out procedure

The MoD tells each Reservist when and where to report for duty and pre-mobilisation training. Reservists should tell you as soon as they get their call-out notice.

Notice period for mobilisation

The MoD aims to provide 28 days' notice but there is no legal minimum notice period.

High Readiness Reserves (HRR). HRR are members of any of the Reserve Forces who have specialist skills and who accept an increased liability for call out (under Part 4 of RFA 96). HRR meets the need for skills that might be in short supply in Regular and Reserve Forces and which might be needed early in a crisis. A call-out order is not required to mobilise HRR.

Also read more on types of Reservists.

Employer information packs

The MoD provides a call-out pack to each employer of a mobilised Reservist. This will either be sent directly to you as their employer, or be included in the Reservist pack, which your employee should hand to you. This gives you the date the Reservist should report for training and includes information on:

  • possible length of the Reservist's duty
  • your statutory rights and obligations as an employer - eg regarding pay, pensions and reinstatement after mobilisation
  • possible financial assistance for employers
  • contacts

For more information, see your rights and responsibilities as a Reservist employer.

Exemptions and deferrals

As an employer, you have the right to appeal against a Reservist's call-up if you feel it would damage the business, for example if there was:

  • a risk of financial harm, eg loss of sales, markets or reputation
  • reduced ability to produce goods or provide services
  • an effect on research and development of new products, services or processes

If you want to make an exemption or deferral application for your employee, you should do so within seven days of the mobilisation notice being issued. If this is not possible, you should ask the Adjudication Officer appointed by the MoD for permission to make a late deferral application. All mobilisations are compulsory and if you or your Reservist does not make an appeal in the given timeframe, the Reservist will be required to report for duty on the date specified in the call-out notice.

Defence Relationship Management (DRM) is an organisation that supports members of the Reserve Forces and their employers through Regional Employer Engagement Directors. The Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) for Northern Ireland, Athene Gordon, can be contacted on Tel 028 9521 6794. Read DRM's guidance on how you can apply for exemption or deferral of a Reservist's mobilisation.

Holiday accrual during mobilisation

You do not have to allow Reservist employees to accrue leave while mobilised as they accrue leave with the MoD. When they return to work, you are entitled to grant them leave pro rata from the date they return to the end of the calendar year. Read more on how to know how much holiday to give your staff.

  • Defence Employer Support Helpline
    0800 389 5459
  • Regional Employer Engagement Director for Northern Ireland
    028 9521 6794
Developed with:
  • MoD