# 2013-116 - 2013 Follow-up regarding National Monthly rate of Separation Expense (SE), Imposed Restriction (IR), Recovery of Overpayment , Separation Expense (SE)

2013 Follow-up regarding National Monthly rate of Separation Expense (SE), Imposed Restriction (IR), Recovery of Overpayment , Separation Expense (SE)

Case Summary

F&R Date: 2013–12–30

While on imposed restriction status, the grievor was advised by the Base Orderly Room that his monthly entitlement for separation expense (SE) benefits at his new place of duty was $1,780. As a result, he incurred SE expenses based upon that advice.

Ten months later, staff at the Director Compensation and Benefits Administration (DCBA) determined that the correct SE rate for the grievor's Base was the national monthly rate of $1,090. Consequently, the grievor's SE rate was reduced from $1,780 to $1,090 per month and the SE benefits that were deemed to have been overpaid were recovered. The grievor argued that any overpayment was the result of an error not of his doing and sought remission of his debt as redress.

The Base Commander, acting as the Initial Authority (IA), found that the grievor made a sound argument and had taken adequate measures to verify his entitlement to SE benefits. However, the IA concluded that the grievor remained responsible for the overpayment.

The Committee noted that the facts of this case were very similar to a recent file (2012-002) in which the Committee had recommended that the grievance be upheld. In that file, the analysis made by the Committee indicated that the DCBA had erred in calculating the Base SE rate by not following the provisions of Compensation and Benefits Instruction (CBI) 209.997. The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) agreed with the Committee and determined that the appropriate SE rate for the affected Base was $1,500 per month. In addition, the CDS directed that all other grievances from that same Base be reviewed in keeping with his decision, and that the Director General Compensation and Benefits update the monthly SE rates.

The Committee observed that it was unfortunate that this grievance had not been administratively resolved given the CDS decision and direction in case 2012-002, a grievance originating from the same affected Base.

The Committee recommended that the CDS partially uphold the grievance and that the grievor's SE claims be recalculated using the CDS directed SE rate of $1,500 per month based on CBI 209.997.

FA Decision Summary

The CDS did not agree with the Committee's recommendation that the grievance be partially upheld by directing a recalculation of the grievor's Separation Expense (SE), based on a 2013 decision by the previous CDS. The CDS partially agreed with the Committee's systemic recommendations: he agreed that the SE rate for the unlisted location be reviewed.

The CDS determined that the grievor was aggrieved, but he was unable to grant redress. First, the rate proposed by the Committee had not been approved by TB. Second, the policies in place regarding SE for various types of accommodation appear to differ from those of his predecessor. Finally, based on QR&O 203.04, amplified by CFAO 203-3, overpayment had to be recovered. However, the CDS noted with great disappointment that there is still no SE rate specific to the mentioned location in the CBI, more than 4.5 years after his predecessor's directions to DGCB to seek TB approval on this issue. Therefore, he directed the DGCB take the lead in a request to TB to amend the Table to CBI 208.997 for the purpose of providing a more appropriate maximum monthly lodging rate for personnel on IR at this location. He considered this task a high priority.

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