Our Employees in the Armed Forces Community

Heriot-Watt University is committed to some Key Principles which form our pledge to the Armed Forces Covenant – and on these pages/this site you will see further information about how this works in practice:

  • Promoting the fact that we are an armed forces-friendly organisation;
  • Seeking to support the employment of veterans young and old and working with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), in order to establish a tailored employment pathway for Service Leavers;
  • Striving to support the employment of Service spouses and partners;
  • Endeavouring to offer a degree of flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment;
  • Seeking to support our employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible;
  • Supporting our local cadet units, where possible;
  • Aiming to actively participate in Armed Forces Day

Set out below are some specific policies directly relating to our commitment in respect of training, volunteering and general wellbeing support:

  • Our Leave of Absence Policy includes information about time off for Reservists Training and Mobilisation, including Return from Mobilisation Volunteering.
  • Our Sickness Absence Policy sets out how we help and support staff who are absent due to ill-health or disability.
  • We have a Policy Statement on Stress and Mental Health
  • Our Family Friendly Suite of Policies also has a section on Compassionate Leave which is flexible in its Guidance to suit the circumstances of those individuals for whom Compassionate Leave is needed.

All of our Staff Policies are also available.

Recruiting Armed Forces Personnel at Heriot-Watt University

Finding work at Heriot-Watt

All our jobs are advertised on our Jobs Page. You can sign up at this page to be notified of any vacancies that you may be interested in at Heriot-Watt University and can also tailor the notifications to suit your interests, skills and experience.

For additional specific support for Armed Forces Personnel, we are also registered with the Forces Families Job Portal for all our vacancies and we actively engage with Career Transition Partnership (CTP) to provide support for anyone who seeking employment following leaving the Armed Forces

We operate a Guaranteed Interview Scheme for applicants who are veterans or volunteers of the Armed Forces and who meet the minimum criteria for the role. When you make an application for a job at any of our UK campuses, you will be encouraged to tick the box that asks if you are a current or former member of the Armed Forces. If you meet the minimum criteria for the role you are applying for, you will automatically be guaranteed an interview.

As part of our commitment to both the Armed Forces Covenant and Disability Confident Accreditation, we are also happy to make reasonable adjustments for anyone who requires it, to enable you to attend interviews or other selection processes and perform to the best of your ability.

If you have any questions about our vacancies or our recruitment and selection process for jobs at Heriot-Watt University, please drop an email to recruitment@hw.ac.uk.

Employees who have links with the Armed Forces past or present

Supporting Reservists and Volunteers

We encourage and support all our employees who wish to do volunteer work within the community or for charitable institutions, including volunteering to support Cadet Organisations such as the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers. It’s part of our Strategy 2025, in particular the Strategic Theme of Flourishing Communities; and connects to our Values.

Our Leave of Absence Policy includes time off for Volunteering and for Reservist Leave

Volunteer Reservist Leave

We are proud to confirm that we already offer time off for Reservists at the Gold Award Standard of the Armed Forces Covenant. If you are already a member of the Reserve Forces, this will apply to you from Day One of your employment with us.

We also encourage employees who wish to become a member of the Volunteer Reserves (i.e. the Royal Naval Reserve, the Royal Marine Reserve, the Army Reserve, or the Royal Auxiliary Air Force), to discuss their plans with their line manager so that the University can support your aims.

If you are a Volunteer Reservist and need time off for activities or training, you will receive up to an additional 10 days paid leave each year to help you achieve your commitments. You may also use some of your annual leave and/or unpaid leave in addition to these 10 days.

Section 11 of the Leave of Absence Policy sets out further details about Reservist Training and Mobilisation, including how to book the additional days on our self-service HR system known as Cloud ERP.


We will grant up to four days additional paid leave in any leave year (which runs October- September) when you can share with your manager that you have used or plan to use the same amount of time for your Volunteering activities. Of course, how you spend your annual leave entitlement is your decision, but your manager will want to discuss with you how much time you wish to spend on your preferred volunteering activity or activities so that they can “match” up to four days with additional Volunteer Leave. Full details are in our Leave of Absence Policy.

Employees who may be called up for Compulsory Military Service under the Reserve Forces Act (1996)

We are committed to providing support for employees should you be called up for compulsory military service, including agreeing time off; maintaining your continuity of employment whilst you are away; and providing reassurances about returning to the same or similar role post-mobilisation. You will find more detail about this in Section 11 of the Leave of Absence Policy on the HR Policy Web-Page. We are committed to providing support for employees should you be called up for compulsory military service, including agreeing time off; maintaining your continuity of employment whilst you are away; and providing reassurances about returning to the same or similar role post-mobilisation. You will find more detail about this in Section 11 of the Leave of Absence Policy.

Receiving a Call Up

As soon as you receive your call-out notice or mobilisation papers, we ask you to speak to your line manager and show them your mobilisation papers. Your manager will work with you to arrange how to request special leave on our Cloud ERP system; preparing handover notes of your current work for others to pick up in your absence; arranging any annual leave time off prior to your mobilisation.

Whilst you are on a period of mobilisation, you will not be issued with a P45 and your employment will continue throughout. You will be paid by the MoD rather than Heriot-Watt University throughout your mobilisation. You will not accrue annual leave at Heriot-Watt whilst you are mobilised but you will accrue leave with the MOD instead.

If you are a member of one of the University’s Pension Schemes, you may choose to remain in it and continue your contributions. For further information about your Pension Scheme Membership during mobilisation, you should contact the Payroll Team via the HR helpdesk (this link is for existing employees only. If you are not a current employee, please contact HR@hw.ac.uk)

Returning from Mobilisation

We want to help you manage the transition from mobilisation back to life and work at Heriot-Watt as best we can.

We are committed to re-employing you within six months of your demobilisation for a guaranteed period of between 13 and 52 weeks depending on your length of service before you were called up.

We will aim to return you to the post you were in immediately before you were called up and on the same terms and conditions as before mobilisation wherever and whenever possible. We will develop a return-to-work plan with you to help ease that transition.

Like many other organisations, we go through periods of change, reorganisation and restructure and it may be that this occurs during your mobilisation. Where this is the case, we will keep you informed as best we can of any proposed or actual changes. Certainly we will consult with you as soon as you are back from mobilisation. If the proposed or actual changes mean that the job you were employed in pre-mobilisation has changed or is no longer available we are committed to ensuring you return to another job on terms and conditions the same or similar (but no less favourable) than the post you left.

You can find useful employer and employee information and an employer toolkit available on the UK Government website

Support for wounded, sick or injured staff

We believe that our employees’ well-being is essential to effective work performance and the provision of a high quality service. It is therefore important that we manage and support employees to be the best they can be at work, including offering support and guidance when you suffer ill-health, whether short or long term, physical or mental. This includes taking positive steps to provide an environment to allow employees with disabilities to maximise their potential and contribution to the University.

We have a number of policies and procedures which provide advice, guidance and support for staff with health problems, short or long-term. You can find these on our HR Policy under Occupational Health and Welfare, including policies and procedures on Sickness Absence and Stress and Mental Health

We also have a range of policies and procedures to support families; have a look at our our HR Policy under the Family Friendly Section. You will find procedures on Compassionate Leave which is flexible in its Guidance to suit the circumstances of each person who may benefit from Compassionate Leave from time to time.

If you are already an employee, we have extensive advice and guidance for a range of general wellbeing support. This includes access to the external 24 Employee Counselling Service which is completely confidential and free to use.

Declaring your Armed Forces Connection

As part of our ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, we encourage any member of staff who has a connection with the Armed Force, whether as a Reservist, Volunteer, Veteran or Armed Forces Spouse or Partner declare this through ERP. Further details are available on our HR SharePoint.