The government is considering the launch of a cash bonus programme that could give a boost to small firms throughout the UK if they hire a reservist.

Earlier this week, defence secretary Philip Hammond announced that if the so-called reservist incentive goes through, small firms throughout the United Kingdom could receive a cash bonus simply for hiring a reservist.

“I would like to look at financial incentivisation for those employers for whom it matters. We are looking at the equation around financial incentives. It would be direct cash – cash when their employees get called out on reserve service,” explained Mr Hammond.

News of this potential incentive comes a year after the Duke of Westminster, who also happens to be the former head of the Territorial Army, publicly criticised UK businesses for discriminating against reservists based on the amount of time required for their part-time military obligations. The reservist is required to dedicate between 19 and 27 days a year, depending on their particular role.

Currently, businesses are only compensated for the cost of replacing a reservist when he or she goes on a formal tour of duty, which is usually for a six-month period. The new system would help to facilitate the
employment of job seekers who also happen to be reservists across a number of different fields and sectors.

The government hopes that the potential cash incentive will not only motivate businesses to hire more reservists but also help the UK to reduce its overall number of soldiers to 82,000 and grow the size of its reservists by 5,000 to 20,000 within the next seven years.