Within the British Army’s new online guide for parents are some serious mistakes which mislead potential recruits and their parents: http://www.army.mod.uk/join/48195.aspx
The top of that page acknowledges how important it is for parents and guardians ‘have all the facts’ but there are several inaccuracies or questionable omissions in the information given on the page. In particular, the explanation of the rules for leaving the army would seriously mislead potential recruits and their parents. The text reads:
‘If your child or loved one is under 18, they can leave after 28 days, over 18 after 3 months. If they choose to stay, they must serve at least four years.’
- A soldier cannot leave after 28 days – they cannot leave at all during the first six weeks (i.e. 28 days + 14 days notice = 42 days = six weeks).
- Thereafter, 14 days’ notice must have been given, or up to three months’ notice if six months have passed since the date of enlistment. The text as presented suggests that a soldier can just walk out if they want to.
- Soldiers who are over 18 can leave after their first six weeks and before, not after, three months have passed from the date of enlistment – this is the very opposite of what is stated on the page. (The text also currently implies that someone who enlists aged under 18 can still leave after they turn 18, as long as they wait three months to do so, which again is seriously misleading).
- Soldiers who do not leave during their DAOR window do not have to serve ‘at least four years’ – they have to stay in the army for at least four and possibly up to six years, depending on the age at which they enlisted.
The rules are complicated and difficult to describe, which is a wholly unnecessary situation of the army’s own making. It is outrageous that the army cannot describe its own terms of service without seriously misleading potential recruits and their parents on the terms of a contract that is so onerous that it would be illegal to impose in civilian life.
And no doubt during the two weeks or three months after a “soldier” (possibly still a child) has given notice of their desire to leave the military has complete free reign and probably does all it can to pressure the person to stay.