Can Do No More? An assessment of Seabee Compensation
CENTER FOR NAVAL ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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In recent years, the Seabee community-the Navys construction force-has become concerned about its ability to retain skilled enlisted personnel. It fears that the Seabees expanded mission, hectic deployment schedule, and harsh work environments have created retention and manning difficulties, which will worsen due to recent sea pay increases for seagoing personnel. In response to these concerns, NAVFAC asked CNA to assess whether an additional Seabee compensation is warranted and, if so, to recommend appropriate pay delivery vehicles. For mid- and senior-grades, the Seabee sea retention and manning environments are generally similar to or worse than those experienced by similarly skilled shipboard personnel. Yet recent sea pay enhancements are designed to address fleet recruiting, retention, and manning problems. As such, they will provide a fix for the problems facing the shipboard groups, but will not improve Seabee conditions since Seabees do not receive sea pays during sea tours. Providing the Seabees with a pay comparable in size to sea pay enhancement would cost 2.9 to 4.3 million annually, depending on whether it targets manning shortfalls or is equally distributed. The most promising near-term compensation vehicles for this pay would be an increase in the meals or incidental expenses portion of per diem for Seabees, whereas a long-term fix might require the implementation of a distribution incentive pay with targeted Selective Reenlistment Bonus.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations