30-Day Entitlement to Annual Leave and Past Reserve Force Service

There are 3 issues related to topic "30-Day Entitlement to Annual Leave and Past Reserve Force Service".


Topic

30-Day Entitlement to Annual Leave and Past Reserve Force Service

Case number

Description

Four years have passed since the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), in a decision rendered in May 2007, agreed with the Board's recommendation that the leave policy should be reviewed.  The current leave policy does not provide credit for past Reserve service to qualify for 30 days of annual leave, but does so for any other leave. 

Back in 2006, the Board had questioned the reasons why the Canadian Forces (CF) choose to differentiate between a Regular Force (Reg F) member who has exclusively served the Reg F for 28 years and one who has served both the Reg F and Reserve Force (Res F) for the same period of time.  The leave policy was supposed to be reviewed back in 2008; this review has still not yet taken place and accordingly, many Reg F members who have 28 years of service, which include Res F service, have not been entitled to an additional five days of annual leave. 

The Board found that excluding the service rendered in the Res F by members who have transferred to the Reg F for the calculation of the 30-day annual leave entitlement is unfair and has never been properly justified.

Recommendation

The Board recommended that the leave policy be amended so that Res F time be taken into account for the calculation of the 30-day annual leave entitlement, retroactive to 2008, as this was the original date of the scheduled policy review.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS recognized that the Board identified the issue of Reserve service not qualifying for 30 days annual leave back in 2006, and that is an ongoing irritant, but DGCB is set to address it in the fall of 2012. However, the CDS disagreed with the Board to apply retroactively any policy change that may result.


Topic

30-Day Entitlement to Annual Leave and Past Reserve Force Service

Case numbers

Description

In 2006, the Board first noted that the Canadian Forces (CF) leave policy does not provide credit for past Reserve Force (Res F) service to qualify for 30 days of annual leave, but does so for other amounts of annual leave (File 2006-057). At that time, the Board concluded that excluding Res F service from the calculation of the 30-day annual leave entitlement was unfair and had never been properly justified.  The Board was informed then that the policy was scheduled to be reviewed in 2008.  However, more recently, in file 2011-038, the Board noted that this review had still not taken place.  Accordingly, the Board recommended that the policy be amended so that Res F service would be taken into account for the calculation of the 30-day annual leave entitlement, and that it be made retroactive to 2008. 

The Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS) agreed with the Board that the need for harmonization of leave policy in the CF was an ongoing irritant.  The CDS stated that delays to modifying the CF leave policy were due to competing priorities. He indicated that the policy would not be reviewed before fall 2012 and that any change would not be made retroactive.

The Board has again received a case on this issue.  The Board sought an update regarding the leave policy revision and was informed that the delivery time for the new policy was now spring 2013.  The Board noted that, as of spring 2013, nine years will have elapsed since the problem was created, nearly seven years since the Board first brought the matter to the attention of the CDS, and close to six years since the CDS was informed by his staff that the leave policy would be reviewed.

The Board concluded that, although it was acceptable back in 2007 to indicate that a policy review would be forthcoming, it can no longer be considered an acceptable response now, six years later. The Board reiterated that the CDS is aware of the problem and agrees with the Board that the situation is unacceptable and should be addressed. 

Although the Board acknowledged that, in his decision, the CDS stated that any change would not be retroactive, the Board respectfully asked the CDS to reconsider his position.  The Board suggested that it was not the original error but rather the CF’s failure to fix the error that gave rise to the need for retroactivity.  Even if it can be said that the leave policy could not be reviewed by the responsible staff due to competing priorities, it was the Board’s view that CF members should not and need not be penalized for the CF’s inability to conduct the needed review in a timely fashion.  Therefore, the Board found that a retroactive implementation of the amended policy back to 2008 when the review should have been completed is required to effectively redress this unintended harm. 

Recommendation

The Board made two systemic recommendations as follows:

  •    that the CDS direct the revision of the CF leave policy such that Res F time is taken into account for the calculation of the 30-day annual leave entitlement and that he set a fixed delivery date for that revision to be implemented; and
  •    that the CDS reconsider his position on the retroactivity of such a revision such that:

-  the retroactivity be established back to 2008, the original date of the scheduled policy review; and

-  those CF members affected by the retroactive change have their annual leave entitlement adjusted accordingly.

Final Authority Decision

The CDS agreed with the Board's systemic recommendation that the leave policy be amended so that Reserve Force service would be taken into account for the calculation of the 30 day annual leave entitlement and that the review be implemented retroactively. The leave policy review was scheduled to be completed in May-June 2013 timeframe. As for the 2008 implementation date recommended by the Board, the CDS referred the matter to the Chief Military Personnel and DGCB for further determination, since he was not convince that it is the correct date.


Topic

30-Day Entitlement to Annual Leave and Past Reserve Force Service

Case number

Description

Since 2006, the Committee has consistently noted that the Canadian Forces (CAF) leave policy does not provide credit for past Reserve Force (Res F) service to qualify for 30 days of annual leave, while doing so for other annual leave entitlements. Finding this exclusion fundamentally unfair, the Committee has recommended that the policy be amended so that Res F service be taken into account for the calculation of the 30-day annual leave entitlement, and that such changes be made retroactive to 2008.

On 10 July 2013, in the most recent Final Authority decision available on this issue, the current Chief of the Defense Staff (CDS) agreed with the Committee’s systemic recommendations. The CDS referred the matter back to the Chief Military Personnel for action.

Unfortunately, in reviewing case 2014-169, the Committee noted that more than a year and a half after his very clear and unambiguous direction, the CDS decision has still not been implemented. The Committee found that the CDS decision requires a simple amendment to the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces (QR&O).  It explained that Chapter 16 of the QR&O is a regulation issued under ministerial authority and the language of the new provision, needed to eliminate the restriction, already exists for the qualification of 25-Day Annual Leave. This language must simply be replicated for the qualification of the 30-Day Annual Leave entitlement.  The Committee further noted the unexplained and unwarranted staff resistance to implement the CDS decision.

Recommendation

The Committee recommended that the Office of the Judge Advocate General be directed to initiate the amendment process of QR&O 16.14 such that Res F Service is recognized for the purpose of the 30-Day Annual Leave entitlement and its retroactivity. Given that the problem exists since 2004, the Committee also recommended that the changes to QR&O 16.14 be given priority. 

Final Authority Decision

The CDS rendered his decision in July 2015 and it was no longer necessary to consider this systemic recommendation since the CAF leave policy was amended and came into effect on 1 April 2015, without retroactivity.

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