Legislation / Policy


01   Register your serving spouse or civil partner’s details

Soldiers can now register their serving spouse or civil partner’s details with their career manager.

This is so that both your career managers can liaise with each other during the assignment process to allow co-located/accompanied Service where possible.

However, assignments in the same general area cannot be considered a right, nor should the interests of other soldiers be allowed to suffer as a result of the policy.

Contact your career manager for more details.

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02   The 90-day rule

We continue to receive enquiries about the 90-day rule and the perceived impact that this can have upon a spouse’s career/employment. AFF has worked with the chain of command and received further advice that will help families to understand the policy better.

For more information, please see ‘The 90-day rule’ article on the CEA page.

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03   Flexible Service

Service personnel can apply for enhanced flexible working opportunities after the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill came into effect recently.

Flexible Service allows regular personnel of the Armed Forces to ask temporarily to work part-time and/or to restrict their separation from their home base and their families.

Regular personnel can find out how Flexible Service will impact their pay and benefits at Discover My Benefits.

For more information, see gov.uk

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04   Flexible working hours for civilian employees

All employees with 26 weeks or more service can make a flexible working request. Employers have to address all requests in a reasonable manner and they must have a sound business reason for rejecting a request. Please note that members of the Armed Forces are exempt from these rules.

This could be key for Armed Forces families as it can address deployments, periods of rest and recuperation and times when your serving partner is away.

Flexible working can include a number of things that change your work pattern including working from home, part-time working, flexi-time, job sharing and shift working.

For more information on what your rights are, how to approach your employer about flexible working, valid reasons why your application may be rejected and challenging your employer’s decision, please visit the ACAS website. If you have any queries relating to flexible working and managing unique Armed Forces situations such as deployments, then please contact AFF at employment@aff.org.uk.

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05   Flexible working non-standard working hours for Service personnel

Many Army spouses tell AFF about the difficulties they have with childcare due to their soldier’s work commitments. AFF consistently argues this is a major barrier to spouse employment and evidence frequently shows that Army spouses are more likely to consider this a barrier to employment than their civilian counterparts.

If your solider is interested in exploring the option of flexible working, then Part 1 of JSP 750 contains lots of information about this. The aim of the policy is to provide Service personnel with an opportunity to balance work commitments with some personal responsibilities. For example, a small variation in start and/or finish times during routine work periods can have a significant impact on the individual and their family. Applications for flexible working are considered on a case-by-case basis and should be submitted in writing. AFF would encourage the serving person to discuss proposals informally with their Commanding Officer/line management prior to formally applying.

The MOD has produced a helpful guide titled ‘Flexible Working and You A Guide for Service Personnel’ which families should read if their spouse is considering flexible working.

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06   ACAS Helpline

If you are having difficulties at work you may want to know about employment rights and rules, best practice or you may need advice about a dispute. ACAS can provide you with free impartial advice. For details of their helpline visit acas.org.uk

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07   Paternity leave options for Service personnel

There are two options when it comes to paternity leave and, as with all allowances, there are eligibility requirements. You are advised to read through JSP 760 to establish what could be available to you.

The Armed Forces Occupational Paternity Leave Scheme (AFOPLS)

Qualifying Service personnel are eligible to apply for two weeks of paid paternity leave (i.e. 14 days) at the time of birth or placement of a child (in the case of a formal adoption). There are certain eligibility criteria which you are required to meet in order to be eligible for this. For more information about your own individual circumstances, see discovermybenefits.mod.gov.uk/army/army-health-welfare/health-and-welfare-paternity-leave.

The Armed Forces Occupational Shared Parental Leave Scheme (AFOShPLS)

In some cases, the Service person may be eligible to receive Shared Parental Leave (ShPL). Again, this is subject to eligibility criteria based upon your individual circumstances. For more information about your personal eligibility for ShPL, please discovermybenefits.mod.gov.uk/army/army-health-welfare/health-and-welfare-shared-parental-leave.

Deferral of Paternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave

Members of the Armed Forces have a commitment to be available to serve at short notice. For this reason, Commanding Officers have the discretion to defer both Paternity and Shared Parental Leave if operational circumstances require it. Personnel may also be recalled from their leave if required.

‘Keeping In Touch’ (KIT) Days

KIT days enable a Service person to return to work without bringing their Paternity or Shared Parental Leave to an end. They can be useful as it allows the person to take part in training or keep up with major developments. They are optional and must be agreed between the person and their line manager/Commanding Officer. For more information about your personal eligibility for KIT days, please see JSP 760 or your Unit HR clerk.

Notifying your chain of command

To qualify for either type of leave, a Service person must notify their Commanding Officer of their planned leave, no later than 15 weeks before they intend to take their leave. The point at which you can take leave depends on your circumstances, i.e. expected week of birth, expected date of placement or when you want to start ShPL – you will need to look at JSP 760 or see your Unit HR clerk for more information about your own situation.

If you believe that you are eligible for either type of leave, we advise you to look at the Discover My Benefits links (above) and JSP 760, before discussing your options with your chain of command.

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08   Discrimination at work for civilian employees

The law protects you from discrimination due to your age, gender, race, religion or beliefs, disability or sexual orientation. For more information and to determine your next course of action visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission website or the Direct Gov website.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against at work or during the recruitment process specifically because you are a military spouse, AFF would like to hear from you, please contact employment@aff.org.uk, Likewise, if you have an employer who actively recruits military spouses and has HR policies to support this please let us know.

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09   Holiday entitlement: civilian employee rights

Almost all workers have a right to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid annual leave, but your employer may offer more.

Find out the basics of working out your holiday entitlement, including your rights on bank holidays. To access all the information you need to know about your right to paid annual leave, how to calculate your holiday entitlement according to your working pattern, accruing your leave and carrying it over, and taking your holiday visit the direct.gov website

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