Deployed sailors selected for separation by the enlisted retention boards would be guaranteed 60 days' time in the U.S. before being kicked out under a proposal being considered by officials. (MCSN Nicolas C. Lopez / Navy)
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DALLAS — Some sailors separated by one of the two petty officer cutting boards slated for this fall could get extensions of up to 90 days if a plan for enhanced transition benefits comes through.
This would allow them to go home as late as Sept. 30, 2012, instead of the current deadline of June 30. Those benefits include professional job placement services and extra time for those on or recently returned from deployment.
The enlisted retention boards will consider 15,688 sailors from 31 chronically overmanned ratings. But only those in pay grades E-4 through E-8 who have seven to 15 years of service will be considered. The plan is to cut 3,122 sailors.
The first board, set to convene Aug. 22, will examine E-4s and E-5s. The second board opens Sept. 26 and will review E-6s through E-8s.
"The required separation date hasn't changed — that's still June 30 of 2012," said Cmdr. Renee Squire, who works in manpower planning for the chief of personnel. "However, commands can request an operational waiver of up to 90 days."
Officials are also considering making it mandatory that a sailor be in the U.S. for 60 days before being separated to allow those returning from deployments enough time to transition to civilian life.
But no sailor can use either kind of waiver to stay on active duty past Sept. 30.
Squire outlined these two extension programs along with other "advanced benefits."
Those transition benefits would include government job fairs as well as contracted professional job placement services, such as résumé writing and interview skills training. Also in the proposal is the opportunity for sailors to leave the Navy early if they've been offered a job — but only if their commanding officer agrees to let them go.
"These are all under consideration right now," Squire said. "They are still in development."
Those separated by the board already qualify for the normal transition assistance program offered to those who leave the service voluntarily.
Sailors who are involuntary separated also receive other benefits, including involuntary separation pay, which is a lump-sum payment equal to 10 percent of 12 times a sailor's monthly base pay multiplied by years of service. For example, an E-6 with 10 years tapped for separation would receive $38,308.
They also maintain their commissary and exchange privileges for two years.
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