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Title 37 Has It Covered.

Pay Raise Forgotten?

Updated: August 17, 2014

For the first time in over a decade, the bill that is being considered in the Senate for the fiscal year defense authorization makes no reference to a military pay raise.

The House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) sent over to the Senate, HR1540, clearly has it listed in SEC. 601(b), “Increase in Basic Pay- Effective on January 1, 2012, the rates of monthly basic pay for members of the uniformed services are increased by 1.6 percent.” But the NDAA version the Senate is currently debating, S1867, has the 1.6% pay raise omitted, erased – gone.

What gives!?

Don’t worry, the United States Code, Title 37, Chapter 19 § 1009 to be exact, has it covered. The Title states,

  • (a) Requirement for Annual Adjustment.— Effective on January 1 of each year, the rates of basic pay for members of the uniformed services under section 203 (a) of this title shall be increased under this section.
  • (b) Effectiveness of Adjustment.— An adjustment under this section shall have the force and effect of law.
  • (c) Equal Percentage Increase for All Members.—
    • (1) An adjustment made under this section in a year shall provide all eligible members with an increase in the monthly basic pay that is the percentage (rounded to the nearest one-tenth of one percent) by which the ECI for the base quarter of the year before the preceding year exceeds the ECI for the base quarter of the second year before the preceding calendar year (if at all).
    • (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), but subject to subsection (d), the percentage of the adjustment taking effect under this section during each of fiscal years 2004, 2005, and 2006, shall be one-half of one percentage point higher than the percentage that would otherwise be applicable under such paragraph.
    • (3) In this subsection:
      • (A) The term “ECI” means the Employment Cost Index (wages and salaries, private industry workers) published quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
      • (B) The term “base quarter” for any year is the three-month period ending on September 30 of such year.

Because the 1.6% pay raise proposal for 2012 was based on ECI, and there is no opposition to the amount, it will automatically take affect, January 1, 2012; however, if the 2012 Defense Authorization bill’s signing is delayed beyond the first pay day in January, all payments of base pay would be retroactive back to the January 1 effective date once the bill is signed into law.

As a matter of fact, with the private industry worker’s wages and salary ECI reported on October 28, 2012, and as long as that section of Title 37 remains intact, and congress doesn’t plan on debating the amount of the raise, you should see the projected 1.7% basic pay raise for 2013 automated, just like 2012’s raise looks like it will be.

So, the basic pay increase is covered, but all those incentive and special pays are not.

Current law authorizes the incentive and special pays to be paid to those authorized until December 31, 2011; the NDAA for 2012 seeks authorization to extend that period until December 31, 2012. Special Duty Assignment Pay, reenlistment bonuses, proficiency pay, hazardous duty pay and many other incentive and bonus pays would be delayed if the NDAA is not passed.



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Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET).

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