Employment in the armed forces is unique in placing severe restrictions on rights and freedoms that are available to the rest of the UK population. The armed forces are also the only employers in the UK who legally require their employees to commit themselves for several years, with the risk of a criminal conviction if they try to leave sooner.
This situation is all the more worrying given that the majority of recruits are very young. There is also evidence that many personnel are unclear about the length of their commitment and their rights to leave and that the information they receive can be misleading.
This briefing outlines the issues and makes recommendations for improving the terms and conditions of service in the armed forces.