HC Deb 11 December 2003 vol 415 c573W
Mr. Meale

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to encourage more employers to enable their workforces to participate in the reserve forces. [142985]

Mr. Caplin

The SaBRE (Supporting Britain's Reservists and Employers) campaign aims to win and maintain the support of employers for the Volunteer Reserves. This is achieved through a combination of highly targeted direct marketing and the establishment of a network of Employer Support Executives to focus employer support at the regional level. We are confident that SaBRE succeeds in generating increased levels of interest in, and support for, our Volunteer Reserve forces, and demonstrate to employers the benefits of employing reservists in their organisations.

In addition, as part of the overall process of identifying lessons learned from all aspects of Operation Telic, we will be reviewing the employer support package, including the right to claim financial assistance to cover the additional costs resulting from the call out of a member of staff.

Also as a result of our experiences during Operation Telic we intend to foster greater involvement of employers in "intelligent mobilisation" in the future. This process recognises that, if there is time, it is better to seek volunteers for specific posts whose employers have given permission for them to be mobilised. Where possible, we will also endeavour to provide reasonable notice of mobilisation plans and improve the flow of information to employers about mobilised Reservists.

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