MAY 12, 2017, ARABIAN SEA (NNS) – A Sailor’s LES (Leave and Earnings Statement) is arguably one of the most important documents in their career.
Financial stability and awareness is widely encouraged throughout the Navy, and knowing what to look for in an LES can make it much easier to achieve these ideals.
“Sailors are ultimately responsible for their own pay,” said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Prince Koomson. “It is necessary to check your LES at least once a month, but preferably twice a month or more. If there is an issue, Sailors should bring it to Personnel so that it can be corrected.”
According to Koomson, there are three main things Sailors should look for when reviewing their LES.
1. Entitlements: This section includes Base Pay, Career Sea Pay or Career Sea Pay Premium, Basic Allowance for Subsidence (BAS), Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and anything else a Sailor is entitled to. Career Sea Pay commences the moment a Sailor checks into a sea command. It should be noted this entitlement stops when a Sailor takes leave or has Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) for more than 30 days.
Sailors who are stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (GHWB) are eligible to receive Career Sea Pay Premium after 36 consecutive months, regardless of the current location of the ship.
2. Deductions: This part of the LES outlines everything that is coming out of a Sailor’s paycheck: Federal taxes: State taxes: Armed Forces Retirement Home, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Social Security and Medicare; meal deductions; Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions; and allotments.
TSP is based on a Sailor’s elected percentage of Base Pay. Therefore, when a Sailor advances in rank, the amount of TSP contributed increases. Sailors should verify that the percentage coming out of their base pay is correct. Allotments are a way to set up bill payments with external companies, making all of a Sailor’s financial responsibilities trackable on an LES. They can be created either on MyPay or in the Personnel office.
3. LES Remarks: The remarks section is where Sailors can find detailed descriptions of any changes or additions made within the LES, as well as other applicable information. This section is especially critical for Sailors who are reenlisting, TAD, in tax-free zones or who are going through a period of swift change, such as transferring commands.
Koomson advises Sailors to always follow up when it comes to finances.
“Every LES is different, so don’t compare yours with your shipmate,” said Koomson. “If you come in to set up an allotment, it is your duty to verify that the allotment went through. Verifying is key because financial issues can affect your orders and other areas of your career.”
Koomson continued, reiterating the importance of taking responsibility over finances.
“Assistance is completely free,” said Koomson. “One small mistake in your financial situation can have big consequences, which is why it’s so important to understand your LES.”
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jennifer Kirkman USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs