Senators Collins, Hirono Introduce Amendment to Ensure Shipyard Workers Are Fully Reimbursed for Long-Term Travel for Maintenance

Current policy harms PNSY employees and Naval fleet readiness

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act today that would repeal the existing Department of Defense (DoD) long-term temporary duty (TDY) policy for shipyard workers conducting off-yard maintenance.

The Navy uses long-term TDY assignments at shipyards to perform critical ship maintenance and repair work. In 2014, however, the DoD implemented a new policy that reimburses shipyard workers conducting off-yard maintenance at a reduced flat rate per diem rate rather than the full per diem rate.

This reduced reimbursement jeopardizes the ability of public naval shipyards, including PNSY, to effectively and efficiently conduct Navy ship maintenance, modernization, and repair. In addition, the policy has the potential to increase end costs of projects, which undermines the intent of implementing the change.

“Our nation relies on the highly trained, exceptional workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to conduct maintenance, modernization, and repair work on our Navy’s ships and nuclear submarines. When workers based at PNSY and public shipyards across our country deploy their expertise and perform critical work to maintain our naval fleet far away from their homes and families, they should receive full reimbursement for expenses related to this official government travel,” said Senator Collins. “The Department’s misguided, one-size-fits-all approach to its long-term temporary duty per diem policy negatively affects our workers, may increase long-term costs, and could potentially harm our national security. This bipartisan amendment would exempt our dedicated shipyard workers from this shortsighted policy and ensure they receive full reimbursement when they conduct these critical missions.”

Senator Collins has consistently advocated for a permanent change to the DoD’s policy to ensure that per diem and lodging rates reflect actual costs and workers are not forced to pay for expenses out of pocket. Last Congress, Senator Collins cosponsored legislation that would mandate this policy change.

Senators Collins and Hirono’s amendment was cosponsored by Senator Angus King (I-ME).