We’ve been hearing for a long time about the employment challenges that army spouses and partners face. We’re all familiar with frequent moves and the choices that we need to make; do I try to change jobs, or work out how to keep this one going, or take the opportunity to do some training? You may have had to apply for jobs at a lower level than the one you had previously, or change your career entirely.
In fact, AFF research conducted by the University of Warwick in 2018 highlighted that 70 per cent of military partners interviewed had changed career path.
It also suggested that many non-serving partners of service personnel are ‘underemployed’, and recommended the creation of a central portal for employment and training opportunities for military spouses and family members – this became Forces Families Jobs (FFJ), launched in 2019.
Bridging the gap
FFJ is a platform that bridges the gap between spouses, partners and family members, and employers who have signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
It also provides access to training courses and helps us to educate the employer community about what army spouses can offer and the difficulties they face.
One of those difficulties is working remotely overseas for a UK-based firm. It would be easy to think this was as simple as packing your laptop, but it’s not always straightforward, particularly if your employer does not already employ people based outside of the UK.
There are many things to navigate, including tax residency rules, rights to work, and employer liabilities as well as local business rates and permissions to work from home.
Each host nation has different agreements with the MOD, many of which were written in the 1950s with no expectation of spousal employment, let alone remote working. Brexit has exacerbated these issues as, with tighter regulations now in force, you may need a visa or permit to work in EU countries. We are working closely with the chain of command and the MOD to push for more clarity in this area.
Here at AFF we have recently created some new roles ourselves, to increase the support we provide to you, wherever you live in the UK or overseas. We now have a Money & Allowances Assistant and third Foreign & Commonwealth Assistant to support our specialists in these areas. We’ll also be growing our Enquiries Team to provide you with more opportunities to connect with us. If you’re on the move this summer, FFJ has thousands of live jobs available for you to view and apply for – forcesfamiliesjobs.co.uk