Flexible working plans for Britain's armed forces draw a step closer to 2019 rollout

Rebecca Smith
Over two-thirds of personnel said they would be interested in taking up flexible working opportunities in the future
Over two-thirds of personnel said they would be interested in taking up flexible working opportunities in the future (Source: Getty)

Plans to shake up the armed forces by rolling out flexible working options move a step closer, as proposed legislation to make the changes will be heard in the House of Commons today.

The measures, set out as part of the Queen's speech in June, will allow armed forces personnel to work part-time for short periods, as long as operational effectiveness of the military is not compromised.

They are due to come into effect in 2019, and will also allow personnel to limit the amount of time that they need to spend away from their home base and their families.

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The proposals come after consultation with 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, or needing to care for elderly relatives.

Internal surveys have repeatedly shown that the impact of service life on family and personal life is the most significant factor that might influence them to leave.

The plans are part of a range of measures being rolled out by the Ministry of Defence as it looks to attract and retain more women in the military.

The armed forces is currently working towards a target of having 15 per cent of the military being made up of women by 2020. At present, 10.2 per cent of the military are women.

The MoD wants the opportunities available expanded, as the military opens up its ground close combat roles to females.

Last month, the RAF became the first service to recruit women into all of its trades when it opened up the RAF Regiment to women.

The army and Marines plan to follow suit by the end of next year.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon said:

Keeping Britain safe means investing in our personnel as well as in new equipment. More flexible working is essential to a modern military, allowing us to recruit the best talent and retain those already serving, while always being ready to deploy as commanders require.

The military must offer conditions of service that keep up with those available in other lines of work. This change will significantly make it easier for women with children.

Under the proposed measures, personnel would still be required to deploy on operations should the need arise, such as in cases of national emergency.

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