Morale: Dealing With The Separation Blues


March 17, 2007: While the U.S. Navy is downsizing, it still has trouble keeping as many key personnel as it needs. As with any organization, there are some job specialties that are on call more often, especially for sea duty. Since this takes sailors away from their families, too much of it encourages these scarce specialists to leave the service. So the navy has introduced a new program, "Sea Duty Incentive Pay," that pays sailors a bonus for above-average time at sea. Sailors will get from $500-750 extra a month, for each additional month they spend at sea. The first sailors to be eligible for the new incentive pay are senior NCOs for aviation operations, engine room NCOs and Aegis radar technicians. If the new policy works, more critical skill categories will be eligible.

The military has found that the bonuses eliminate a lot of the morale problems for troops required to spend a lot of time overseas, either in combat zones or in unpleasant parts of the world. The same approach has long been used in civilian jobs that require long separations from families.


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