Andrew Robathan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans), Defence; South Leicestershire, Conservative)
Many different types of incentives exist to encourage employers to support and promote their employees' membership of the reserve forces. Most relevant and enduring are the transferable skills, gained through reserve service, that contribute to staff development in any business. There is also an effective scheme in place that enables employers to apply for financial assistance to cover certain costs incurred when replacing a reservist employee if they are mobilised.
The Ministry of Defence has remained engaged with employers before and since the announcement of the publication of the Future Reserves 2020 study in July 2011. However, with this step change in size and role of the reserves we need a new framework of partnership, with public and private sector employers that gives us more confidence that trained reservist manpower will be available when needed. This is being examined through, for example, the ‘Partnering for Talent’ programme, which seeks to identify clear business benefits for employers who support the reserves. I intend to publish a consultation paper in the autumn following which we will be able to make informed decisions early next year on further employer engagement.