The aim of LSA is to support and improve retention by compensating those personnel experiencing separation over and above that compensated for by the X factor. The Armed Forces' Pay Review Body (AFPRB) conducted a review of the X factor as part of their 2007-08 programme, and the Government accepted the AFPRB's recommendation to increase the X factor from 13 per cent. to 14 per cent. with effect from April 2008. Importantly, since X factor is merged into basic salary, its benefit is not only in a significant increase in monthly salary, but also in pension growth.
Given this X factor provision for lower levels of separation, LSA has a qualifying period of 10 days’ involuntary separation before entitlement is triggered, at which point the allowance is paid with effect from the first day of separation. There is an exception for seagoing units, where LSA is awarded from the first day of departing base port, and also for ‘on the road’ posts in which individuals experience high frequency of separation of periods of at least four days’ duration. Moreover, noting the close relationship between X factor and longer separation allowance, LSA is reviewed periodically by the AFPRB.
The allowance is paid according to 14 different tiers, currently ranging from £6.38 to £26.94 (taxable) per day—as recommended by the AFPRB. Increment level 1 is paid for the first 400 days’ qualifying separation, with incremental progression for each subsequent 300 days of qualifying separation. As such, the daily payment increases according to the through-career separation ‘clock’. Payment to individuals is through the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system.
The number of longer separation allowance days paid is recorded on the Joint Personnel Administration System.
There is no maximum entitlement to longer separation allowance. It is an allowance paid for separation from the family or, if single, from the duty station over and above that accounted for within the X factor element of basic pay.
Activities that cause service personnel to be separated from their home base are as numerous as they are diverse. For this reason the joint personnel administration (JPA) records separated service through 16 separate activity codes that cover all aspects of individual training, collective training, pre-deployment training, courses and operations. Every 24 hour period that a service person spends away from their home base is used in the calculation of harmony, including operations.