We use cookies to improve your experience on our website and ensure the information we provide is more relevant. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we will assume you are happy to accept all cookies on the Army website. You can change your cookie settings at any time.



Mobilisation means being called up for operational duties. These can be anywhere in the World where regular forces are operating. This page explains what happens when a soldier is mobilised and what happens when he returns to work following a tour of duty. Find out more about both Army Reserve and employer obligations.

Mobilisation process - from call-up to returning to work after demobilisation

Once a reservist has been selected for mobilisation, a pack of information including a call-out notice will be sent to his or her home address. As soon as the pack has been received, the Reservist needs to start making preparations.

The Services aim to provide 28 days' notice prior to the date when the Reservist is required to report for duty. This gives both the Reservist and their employer time to put their affairs in order.

The call-out pack includes:

  • a covering letter, giving a short explanation of the mobilisation process
  • the call-out notice
  • a conditions of service document
  • mobilisation reporting instructions (download from right-hand panel)
  • a list of clothing and equipment requirements (download from right-hand panel)
  • financial assistance information and instructions (download from right-hand panel)
  • welfare service information
  • mobilisation helpline contact details
  • an employer pack

The employer pack contains a letter that sets out the date and possible duration of mobilisation. It also explains the statutory rights and obligations of the employer, including the entitlement to apply for financial assistance, and exemption or deferral (see below).

Download the Mobilisation Process pdf from the right-hand panel for instructions on reporting to the mobilisation centre for induction, including dress code, travel arrangements and accommodation. It also contains details of training at Mission Training and Mobilisation Centre (Individual) (MTMC(I)) Chilwell and documents that the Reservist is required to bring to their induction.

Rights and responsibilities

The laws covering mobilisation are there to protect both Reservists and their employers.

Although the mobilisation process includes the issuing of an employer pack, the Reservist is still responsible for informing their employer that they have been called out.

Once a call-out notice has been issued, the Reservist is covered by the Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 (SOE 85). This provides two types of protection - protection of employment for those liable to be mobilised, and reinstatement for those who have been mobilised. This means that:

  • the employer cannot terminate a persons employment based on their liability to be mobilised and without their consent
  • the Reservist is entitled to reinstatement to their original position (or one of equal pay and status) on completion of military service
  • Employers and Reservists are entitled to make claims for financial assistance and apply for exemption or deferral of mobilisation

Exemption and deferral

The Reservist and his or her employer both have a right to seek an exemption or deferral on the following grounds.

A Reservist can apply because:

  • he or she has sole parental or primary care responsibilities
  • he or she is engaged in full-time education or training
  • he or she works in a family-run business which would be seriously harmed by their absence
  • he or she has entered into a contract of employment but has not yet started work under that contract, and the
  • other party does not agree to postpone the start date
  • he or she has compassionate reasons for the MOD to consider

Employers can apply for exemption or deferral from mobilisation if they can demonstrate that the Reservist's absence would cause serious harm to the business which will:

  • result in a loss of sales, markets, reputation, goodwill or other financial harm
  • cause serious impairment of the ability to produce goods or provide services
  • cause harm to research and development of new products, services or processes, provided that this could
  • not be prevented by the employer being given financial assistance under SI 2005/859.
  • Applications for exemption or deferral must be made within seven days of the call-out notice being received.
  • Follow the link on the right for more information about applying for exemption and deferral.

Preparing for mobilisation - Reservists

In the run up to mobilisation, the Reservist will need to make preparations for deployment such as covering any regular mortgage or insurance payments. There are regulations to ensure that Reservists can recover most of the additional costs arising from their mobilisation.

Under the Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/859), Reservists can claim for the following:

  • up to specified financial ceilings, loss of earnings and some benefits (including company cars)
  • without financial limit, certain allowable expenses.

The Reservist call-out pack includes further details about entitlements and how to apply. Please download the Financial assistance for Reservists pdf from the right-hand panel.

Preparing for mobilisation - Employers

A Reservist's call-out for mobilisation may result in additional costs for his or her employer.

Under the Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/859), employers can claim the following:

  • ongoing costs of replacing the Reservist (up to a limit of £110 a day) including pay and overtime to existing employees
  • one-off costs (agency fees and advertising costs)
  • necessary training expenses for the Reservist on his or her return to employment
  • employer pension payments (provided that the Reservist continues to pay their contributions)

Employers are not obliged to pay Reservists' salaries or benefits during the time that they are mobilised. If an employer chooses to continue paying the Reservist, they cannot claim for this.

Employers cannot claim for loss of profits, turnover or goodwill. If the employer believes that their business will be 'seriously harmed' by the Reservist's mobilisation, they should seek exemption or deferral.

Employers are not obliged to allow their Reservist employee to accrue leave while mobilised, although some employers choose to do so.

The employer pack contains information on the costs that can be reclaimed, how to apply, and details of the supporting documentary evidence that is required.

Reporting for service

On arrival at the Mobilisation Centre specified in the call-out pack, the Reservist undertakes a number of tests before being accepted into service including medical and dental examinations. Please see the documents in the right-hand panel for further details.

The Reservist will undertake pre-deployment training, once he or she has been accepted into service, at MTMC(I). Please watch a selection of videos on the MTMC(I)page.

Pre-deployment training includes:

administration (covering pay, kit and equipment, welfare and medical)refresher training (low-level training)training specific to the theatre of operationtraining specific to the Reservist's function

Depending on the nature of the operation, this process can take up to four weeks.

Once the Reservist's post has been confirmed, he or she is then deployed to their unit.

Demobilisation and returning to work


At the end of the tour, the Reservist returns to the Mobilisation Centre, where they undergo debriefing and medical checks.

Once the Reservist has been demobilised, they are sent on post-operational tour leave. At this stage, the Reservist is still in full-time service.

Reservists are entitled to a period of post-operational tour leave of up to 40 days. During this leave period, the Reservist must contact their employer to agree a date for their return to work.

After post-operational tour leave, the Reservist is no longer in full-time service and becomes a civilian again.


Returning to work

Employers are obliged to reinstate a Reservist to his or her original position or, if that is no longer practicable, in the best job and on the most favourable terms which are reasonable and practicable in his or her case.

The return to civilian life isn't always easy for Reservists. The MOD makes every effort to support both Reservists and employers following demobilisation.

During post-operational tour leave, Reservists must write to their employers and agree a date for returning to work.

The MOD now provides demobilised Reservists with the same level of support that is offered to regular service personnel returning from operational tours, including access to counselling services.

Employers can speak to their UESO for advice on how to help their Reservist reintegrate into the workplace.

Training for mobilisation at MTMC(I) Chilwell

The MTMC(I) at Chilwell prepares all branches of the Reserve Forces and Civilians for Service with the Regular Forces, in addition to Regular Individual Reinforcements.


Share this page

Bookmark and Share