The Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill became law yesterday, allowing some military personnel to serve part-time for defined periods.
Service personnel will now be able to apply for enhanced flexible working opportunities. They will also be able to restrict the amount of time they spend away from their home base and families.
The Bill is a direct result of a consultation within the Armed Forces which found that personnel want more choice over the way they serve when their personal circumstances change, such as having young children, needing to care for elderly relatives, or taking on further training and education.
The plans, which will come into effect in 2019, are part of a range of measures the Armed Forces are implementing to become more modern and diverse.
The flexible working measures are designed so that they won’t impact the military’s ability to deliver its core tasks of defending the country.
Applications for part-time service and restricted separation will be assessed against the need of the Armed Forces and personnel would be required to deploy on operations should the need arise, such as in cases of national emergency.
Speaking about the new law, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “This change will make it significantly easier for our dedicated Armed Forces to raise their children, care for elderly relatives, or look after an ill family member.”
“This will ensure we are able to retain and recruit the brightest and the best from all backgrounds to keep Britain safe.”
Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, added, “Flexible work is key to retaining our expert personnel who we’ve invested in during their military career.”
“Personnel have told us they want more flexibility and we have listened – that’s what this Act delivers.”