Lt. Col. Matt Leonard
The Department of Defense has recently begun making payments to its workers who lost income while activated as a member of the Reserve component. Since mid-April, Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has distributed more than $880,000 to make up for income differences.
The “reservist differential” payment was authorized by Section 5538 of Title 5 U.S. Code. Under this law, Federal employees who experienced a loss of pay while performing Federal active military service as a guardsman or reservist on or after March 11, 2009 are eligible.
“For many years DoD has been recognizing and celebrating those civilian employers who provide exceptional support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve,” said Dennis M. McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. “One of the ways in which employers may do this is by providing differential pay.”
McCarthy points to Title 38 U. S. Code, Chapter 43 “Employment and Reemployment Rights of Members of the Uniformed Services”, which states: “It is the sense of Congress that the Federal Government should be a model employer…” McCarthy says, “This program represents the Federal Government making a big step towards becoming one of our nation’s model employers.”
For each civilian pay period, DoD will compare the projected civilian basic pay to the allocated military pay and allowances. If the projected civilian basic pay is greater than the allocated military pay and allowances, the difference represents the unadjusted reservist differential.
The DoD employee-reservist must provide his or her employing agency with a copy of his monthly military leave and earnings statement for each affected month. Based on those statements, the employing agency must determine the actual paid gross amount of military pay and allowances allocatable to each pay period in a qualifying period. A definition of "military pay and allowances" is included in OPM guidance.
For each affected month, a daily rate will be computed by dividing the monthly total by 30 days for full months or by the actual number of days for partial months. Military pay and allowances will be allocated to a civilian pay period (usually a 2-week period) based on the applicable daily rate for days within the pay period.
For more information on the reservist differential for Federal employees, please visit the following U.S. Office of Personnel Management web page: http://www.opm.gov/reservist/