Reserve Force pay: what’s in your paycheque?

A soldier from C-Company, 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia?s Canadian Light Infantry, (3PPCLI) oversees the safety of Canadian Armed Forces members during a live fire defensive range during Exercise SABRE STRIKE on June 7, 2017 as part of Operation REASSURANCE. Photo by: MCpl Brandon O'Connell, Image Tech, 3rd Cdn Div PA WA2017-0025-26 ~ Un membre de la compagnie C du 3e Bataillon, Princess Patricia?s Canadian Light Infantry (3PPCLI), veille à la Sécurité des membres des Forces armées canadiennes lors d?un entraînement de tir réel en position défensive au cours de l?exercice SABRE STRIKE, le 7 juin 2017, dans le cadre de l?opération REASSURANCE. Photo : Cplc Brandon O'Connell, technicien en imagerie, AP 3 Div C WA2017-0025-26

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As promised in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Canadian Armed Forces has changed how it calculates Reserve Force pay so it aligns with the Regular Force.

While not a pay increase per se, reservists will now receive 7.8 percent more money in their paycheque. Reservists will begin receiving the new rate by the end month pay in August 2019. That rate will be retroactive to 1 April 2019.

What’s changed is the methodology used to calculate pay. Regular Force pay is composed of two parts: base pay plus Military Factor. In the past, Reserve Force pay was a simple 85 percent calculation of the sum of that total. The new methodology means the Reserve Force will have the same base pay as the Regular Force, plus the elements of the Military Factor that apply to reservists.

The base salary that all members of the Canadian Armed Forces receive aligns with the salary earned by public servants in comparable roles. The Military Factor is a percentage added on top of the base salary that compensates members for additional requirements that do not affect most public servants. The difference between Reserve and Regular Force members’ pay is the amount of that extra percentage.

The Military Factor is calculated using three military and two additional elements. The military considerations are: personal limitation and liability, separation, and posting turbulence. The two additional elements are overtime and acting for supervisors without an increase in pay.

Reservists cannot be posted to a different geographic location or sent away from their families on an operation or exercise without their personal consent. This is different from Regular Force members, who are expected to move or deploy when directed, often frequently and on short notice. That is reflected in the Military Factor.

The Military Factor for Regular Force members includes all five elements. For Reserve Force members, it includes three: personal limitation and liability, overtime, and acting for supervisors.

The Reserve Force is an integral component of the Canadian Armed Forces. Reservists come from all walks of life, and include students, civil servants, labourers, business people, academics, and former members of the Regular Force. The restructuring of pay is part of an overall vision outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, which includes increasing the Reserve Force by 1,500 members and further integrating reservists into operations.

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