Information Circular No 34/2020: SEA SERVICE COMMITMENT SCHEME

By Industrial Relations Officer

The Following Circular supersedes Circular 30\2020.

PDFORRA has exchanged correspondence with the Department of Defence on the Issue of the Sea Service Commitment Scheme over the course of the past number of weeks\months. The necessity for the elongated exchange of correspondence arose following the failure of the Department of Defence to engage with our Association prior to the announcement of the Scheme.

However, to date, the Association has not attained significant movement from the Department on many of the issues that it considers vital to the successful operation of the Scheme.

Therefore, our Association wishes to merely advise members of the principal terms of the Scheme, without endorsement.

The primary aspects of the Sea Service Commitment Scheme are:

  • Participation in the Scheme is voluntary, and is open to personnel above the rank of AB serving in appointments within CS.4, or those filling appointments on long term attachment. Additionally, personnel must have a minimum of 6 months left on their current rotation period to be eligible to participate in the Scheme if they are currently on sea rotation.
  • Members who seek to participate in the Scheme are required to make a commitment to undertake 240 sea days over the course of a 4 year aggregate period. This period can be completed during a normal sea/shore rotation period, where ships put to sea for the requisite period. Provision is made for appointments such as Chefs by allowing a split period over the 48 month period.
  • In turn, members will receive €2,500 in arrears for every 60 days completed during the foregoing six (6) months. This is in addition to Patrol Duty Allowance and  Tax Relief, where applicable.
  • The Scheme is ONLY  available to personnel who have completed 3 years’ service upon introduction of the Scheme. 
  • Personnel who have re-enlisted to the Defence Forces must wait for three years before becoming eligible to enter the Scheme. However, the Department have NOT guaranteed that the Scheme will continue past the initial year of introduction.
  • Excess days in any one year are NOT transferrable “bankable” for subsequent year’s sea service.
  • Income under the Scheme is NOT pensionable, however, earnings are taxable.
  • Furthermore, in circumstances where members do NOT complete the requisite period (even potentially in circumstances beyond their control it would appear- ie ship unable to put to sea due to mechanical failure etc) they may become liable for the return of those sums previously paid.
  • Where members become sick, become pregnant or otherwise are unable to undertake the full 240 days over the course of the 2 year period, this period may be extended. However, in the event that they are unable to complete the requisite period, any sums provided to personnel up to that point can be recouped by  the Minister as they see fit.
  • However, the Department have indicated that where members take up promotion to non-sea going positions, alternatively, where they undertake a trainee technician course, they will NOT be charged the recoupment PROVIDED that they remain in service for 4 years subsequently.
  • The Department have indicated that periods of relief duties are NOT included in the aggregation of sea time. 

Members who are contemplating to commit to the Scheme are advised to attain legal advice before doing so. Members are free to contact the Association solicitor, Mr Fergus O Regan on 01-6776777.

The Department of Defence have advised PDFORRA that the operative date for the Scheme is the 1st of January 2021.

Display on Notice Boards                                                  Issued on: 22/12/2020

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