People First: Resolving Sea Duty Allowance Discrepancies – levelling the playing field

Navy News / June 29, 2017

Over the past 16 months, National Defence’s Directorate of Military Pay and Allowances Processing (DMPAP), with assistance and support from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), has been verifying the payment of Sea Duty Allowance (SDA) for personnel who were posted to HMC Ships undergoing refit from September 2001 to June 2014.

This review of Sea Duty Allowance was initiated following the successful resolution of a grievance submitted by an RCN sailor who noticed a discrepancy between the existing policy and how it was being applied. In fact, at the request of the RCN, DMPAP conducted a wider investigation into the matter and found that more than 4,600 sailors were incorrectly paid Sea Duty Allowance during a 13-year period.

The policy application discrepancy has since been corrected and all sailors impacted by this error are having their pay accounts corrected. With the review drawing to a close, the RCN is pleased to report that over 4,600 affected personnel have been collectively paid almost $17 million in additional Sea Duty Allowance entitlements.

However, the audit also uncovered other inaccuracies that needed to be fixed. Unfortunately, 63 members were overpaid during the same time period – amounting to approximately 1.3% of the total number of accounts reviewed. Many of these were as a result of incorrect SDA level increases being entered into the pay system. It is the RCN’s collective responsibility to ensure that taxpayer money is spent responsibly, and that members only receive the compensation they’re entitled to. At the same time, the RCN deals with such matters respectfully and with much regard to the personal circumstances of its sailors.

The 63 members affected by the overpayment are being notified of the issue, and are being given time to decide on a repayment plan that best suits their respective situations. Affected members are encouraged to seek assistance from their pay office to determine the repayment rate that best suits their financial situation.

Unit Commanding Officers can approve a recovery time up to the length of time the overpayment occurred. The RCN is committed to facilitating this process for all affected members. If any member will encounter financial hardship while the recovery is being made they can seek financial counselling from SISIP Financial.