Johnny Mercer MP as Minister for Defence People and Veterans and Helen Helliwell, Director, Armed Forces People Policy have written a letter with some useful resources to Service spouses and partners on employment support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter reads:
Dear Service spouses and partners,
In these challenging times, we are writing to you to provide some reassurance that we understand the concerns you may have regarding your employment and wider family dynamics. We are engaging regularly with charitable organisations, the Families Federations and academia to improve employment opportunities for Service partners and spouses. We are keenly aware of the impact that Service life may have on your careers and employment opportunities, and in turn that the current crisis we as a nation find ourselves in, may have further compounded some of these difficulties.
We’d like to thank you for the continued support you give to our Service Personnel which ensures we can maintain operational readiness and also that we can play our part in helping the Nation’s fight against COVID-19. We know that this sometimes comes at a cost to family life and your own career particularly at a time of additional home-schooling responsibilities, without the presence of trusted family members and indeed extra caring responsibilities for elderly relatives to consider. For families with additional needs the changes to routines and difficulty accessing support you have previously relied upon will make this even tougher. The transition of easing the lockdown may also present difficulties in the form of new routines depending on your employer’s policies and interpretation of government advice. We would like to inform you however that under new regulations as part of a ‘support bubble’ for those Service families, with a partner deployed, you are allowed to visit and stay with one other family with your children. This ‘support bubble’ would only apply to one other household.
The MOD’s Partner Employment Steering Group which includes representatives from the single Services, Families Federations and academic experts in the field of partner employment, continues to meet virtually to discuss what support we can provide to you and to ensure that it is coherent and meets your needs. The group understands that the current crisis will for many of you exacerbate some of the difficulties you already face. Acknowledging this they asked that we as Minister for Defence People and Veterans and Director of Armed Forces Personnel Policy, write to you to emphasise this and to signpost you to existing resources and organisations that may be helpful. The annex included with this letter provides details of the employment support that is available to partners and spouses. For example, information about Families Forces Jobs: a job platform specifically for Service families.
Finally, we urge you to keep looking after yourselves and keep on supporting each other as you are so good at doing, whilst adhering to the Government’s latest guidelines.
Thank you to the RAF Families Federation for sharing the information here.