Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reserve Drill pay changes

After a considerable period of time I have been nudged to think about posting again to retired Reservist. My issue was that after a couple years departed from the Reserve life, I feel less inclined to weigh in on policies and events. However recently I saw the consideration that is circulating to change the way Reserve soldiers are paid for drill weekends. The DOD panel has proposed:
The QRMC recommended modernizing the reserve compensation system by transitioning the reserve components to a total force pay structure under which a member receives full pay and allowances for each day of duty regardless of the type or purpose of duty. Further, the QRMC recommended transitioning the reserve components to a retirement system that is more closely aligned with the active duty system with guard and reserve members receiving retired pay upon reaching their 30th anniversary of military service, having completed 20 qualifying years
While this will save money for the Army, it ignores several realities for guard and reserve members. The Drills that I participated in were anywhere from 4 hrs to 24 hours in a day (during field training) Training on a drill weekend required considerable prior training, juggling work for MUTA 5s and sacrifice to enable the training to be a valuable event. Many hours were added for unpaid administrative requirements and finally PT was required which was done on my time. Reservists do not get BAS/ housing pay which can add up as a tax free addition to base pay. We did not have health insurance. This effort will radically reduce the pay for a truly demanding job for many reserve soldiers. There is only so much G&C sacrifice that should be asked and salray reduction and retirement point restrictions are counter to attracting the best to the component.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I read the three sections in the QRMC report which cover the Guard and Reserves. There was a lot covered, and it takes a bit of work to put everything together. For example, the new pay proposal would pay Guard / Reserve members the same rates and benefits as the active duty component. So they would receive two retirement points and two days of pay for their drill weekend, along with prorated BAH/BAS. One reason for this recommendation is to make things less confusing for everyone involved.

The downside, of course, is receiving less pay for service now, and earning fewer retirement points. The main benefit though, is for servicemembers who will be able to begin receiving their retirement benefits before age 60 in many cases. (ex: an enlisted member who joined at age 18 would be able to begin receiving retirement benefits at age 48, provided they had 20 qualifying years of service).

The proposal wasn't very clear regarding the ability to begin receiving health care benefits at the 30 year mark, but if that is the case, the new plan would be worth it to many indiviudals, as the health care benefits have a substantial value (sometimes more valuable than the pension itself, depending on the individual).

There are definite pros and cons to this proposal. It would seem to discourage people from joining the Guard / Reserves without prior service, as it would be incredibly difficult to earn a meaningful number of retirement points without activations. It would, however, encourage prior service members, especially those who decide to get out around the 10-12 year mark and move into the civilian world. This would allow them to keep the points from the years they served, join the Reserve Compenent, and complete their 20 years of service, but not have to wait until age 60 to receive their pension and health care benefits. If anything, I see this as being an enhanced retention tool.