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flammable

Commuting to drill

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Question for you airliner guys. I will be starting work at an airline(big 3) as a ground guy and will need to start commuting to the east coast from the Midwest and was wondering how travel time is looked at? Based off schedules for a regular weekend drill, I would have to leave Friday afternoon and won’t be able to fly back until Monday morning non reving. Would both fri and mon count as mil leave days or do I need to take vacation? In addition, I would assume non reving would be kosher even though I’m not technically working for the military those two days? I would ask my new boss but he has already been a douche and I would like to know some background if he tries to push back.

 

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You should get paid for the travel days (part of your orders each time). Your unit should also be paying for the airline tickets. Why would you be non reving?


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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, flammable said:

Question for you airliner guys. I will be starting work at an airline(big 3) as a ground guy and will need to start commuting to the east coast from the Midwest and was wondering how travel time is looked at?

Not sure of your situation, but there are tons of Guard squadrons throughout the Midwest, I would seriously consider switching units if this is a long term move.  Depending on the circumstances, commuting to the Guard will get tiresome and old VERY fast.  Best of luck!

 

Quote

Based off schedules for a regular weekend drill, I would have to leave Friday afternoon and won’t be able to fly back until Monday morning non reving. Would both fri and mon count as mil leave days or do I need to take vacation? In addition, I would assume non reving would be kosher even though I’m not technically working for the military those two days? I would ask my new boss but he has already been a douche and I would like to know some background if he tries to push back.

USERRA provides many protections from your employer for military duty.  You are not be required to take any vacation days from work to perform military duty.   You're allowed to drop military leave on days you're not necessarily being paid by the military if it's to get you in position for duty.  In your case, I would drop military leave Fri-Mon.  If you get push back from your boss, I would inform your military leadership and/or contact the Department of Labor...a call from a USERRA lawyer works wonders. 

Dept. of Labor USERRA

8 hours ago, ThreeHoler said:

You should get paid for the travel days (part of your orders each time). Your unit should also be paying for the airline tickets. Why would you be non reving?

Not for drill weekend.  Getting to drill is on your own dime and time.  They will provide you with lodging over the weekend (Fri/Sat), though it will depend on the unit if they'll get you a room for Sunday night.  You're generally not on "orders" for drill weekend, so no airline tickets.  I'm not even sure we have money to provide tickets for people to fly out for their 15 days of AT orders....you're assumed to live in the local area.  However, you will be given a ticket to begin/end a TDY or deployment.  

One small consolation (if it wasn't taken in the latest tax change) is you can write off many of the expenses incurred if you live XX distance from the Guard base (100 miles I think).   Be sure to research this or talk to your CPA.  

Edited by SocialD

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5 hours ago, SocialD said:

One small consolation (if it wasn't taken in the latest tax change) is you can write off many of the expenses incurred if you live XX distance from the Guard base (100 miles I think).   Be sure to research this or talk to your CPA.  

Apparently it was written out...from talking to my CPA last month.

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10 hours ago, ThreeHoler said:

You should get paid for the travel days (part of your orders each time). Your unit should also be paying for the airline tickets. Why would you be non reving?

lol

Not for UTAs, my friend...in my experience, orders with travel were only available for Annual Tour, or for any missions that had the funding.  But drill weekend?  That was on me to get there.

I did the non-rev thing as a ground guy.  For the most part, it worked.  To the OP, what you may run into is needle-dick airline personnel who don't understand what you're doing, and may try to claim that you're using your travel benefits for financial gain.  If and when that happens, nuke that shit from orbit, behead the remains.  I'm getting all triggered internet tough-guy over this as I ran into that exact situation and I played it soft, thinking I have to get along with my boss/employer and besides the airline making this claim wasn't even my own, it was a partner airline at my airport (on whom I was non-reving for UTA, their flights served my destination direct while mine required 1-2 connections).  But the takeaway was that I wished later on that I had been much firmer and put the two station managers in touch with USERRA as mentioned above, as well as with their leadership further up the chain, airlines have extensive participation in the reserve components and some education being dropped from the executive/flying side of things would have made life much easier for me and for any other guardsmen/reservists who happened to work there later on.

Meanwhile one of my jackass coworkers was non-reving up to Alaska to do commercial fishing.  Okay...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Lockjaw said:

Apparently it was written out...from talking to my CPA last month.

If you travel 100.1+ miles for duty, get a new CPA.

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p3#en_US_2018_publink1000176171

Quote

Are My Travel Expenses as a Reservist Deductible?

If you are a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces and you travel more than 100 miles away from home in connection with your performance of services as a member of the reserves, you can deduct your unreimbursed travel expenses on your tax return. Include all unreimbursed expenses from the time you leave home until the time you return home. See How To Report My Reserve-Related Travel Expenses below for information on how to report these expenses on your tax return.

Quote

How To Report My Reserve-Related Travel Expenses

If you have reserve-related travel that takes you more than 100 miles from home, you should first complete Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses.

On Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 24: enter the part of your expenses, up to the federal rate, included on Form 2106, line 10, that is for reserve-related travel more than 100 miles from your home.

For more information about this limit, see Per Diem and Car Allowances in chapter 6 of Pub. 463.

 

Edited by nunya
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19 hours ago, nunya said:

If you travel 100.1+ miles for duty, get a new CPA.

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p3#en_US_2018_publink1000176171

Was this something initially in the bill but then taken out?  All of the stuff on the IRS website for 2018 says it's still a think, but not sure for how long.  I hope it stays for the guys who commute.

https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/mil-money/2018/02/15/reserve-guard-members-lose-travel-expense-tax-deduction/

 

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3 hours ago, SocialD said:

Was this something initially in the bill but then taken out? 

Dunno.  I didn't watch the iterations that carefully and I don't commute more than 100 miles any more.  I just know my HR Block tax quiz (spoiler alert: I barely passed) asked me about my Reserve commute so it seems they knew about the 2018 law.  

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11 hours ago, SocialD said:

Was this something initially in the bill but then taken out?  All of the stuff on the IRS website for 2018 says it's still a think, but not sure for how long.  I hope it stays for the guys who commute.

https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/mil-money/2018/02/15/reserve-guard-members-lose-travel-expense-tax-deduction/

 

The relevant change in the tax law was that miscellaneous unreimbursed employee expenses can no longer be itemized.  In previous tax years, employees could use a Schedule A (where you itemize your mortgage, charitable contributions, etc) to also itemize unreimbursed expenses.  This applied to most all employees with unreimbursed expenses like a traveling salesman for unreimbursed lodging.  The expenses for Air Force folks were usually related to uniforms, and this is why Lt Snuffy would save all of his dry cleaning receipts.  For 2018 going forward, employees can no longer itemize unreimbursed expenses on Schedule A.

But Reservists who travel more than 100 miles from home to perform military duty can/should file Form 2106 for their unreimbursed expenses related to traveling.  This Form existed before 2018, and there don't appear to be any major changes to the Form.  Form 2106 is an "above the line" deduction that helps lower your AGI and can be used even if you do not itemize other expenses on a Schedule A.

 

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Posted (edited)

People that commit to drill can be a problem, every unit has them, and we usually complain about their availability.  If you’re a ground guy it’s probably easier, but not the easiest in the world.  Change units.

Edited by matmacwc

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Everything you are asking about is protected by USERRA.  Your new boss can be douchey about it all he/she wants, but at the end of the day you are protected by federal law.  Familiarize yourself with USERRA protections (because your company likely won't), get in touch with the companies military affairs personnel, and stand your ground if they are trying to give you the shaft.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everyone, in particular @SocialD. Easier said than done about changing units as it’s only temporary (~ 1 yr) but I’ll be sure to talk to JAG as well if need be. 

 

Ive got a good leadership and will probably drill some months at the local unit here too through back channels  

 

 

Edited by flammable

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You do know there's a "Guard/Reserve" section here, right?

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6 hours ago, HuggyU2 said:

You do know there's a "Guard/Reserve" section here, right?

Maybe a mod can move it to the correct sub-forum. I have the link to the forum moderator dashboard if anyone needs it.

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As long as this thread is still here...

What do you consider a "commuter" when it comes to TRs?  How far away does a guy have to live before he's no longer "local?"  1-2 hours drive time?  3?  What if your unit is in the middle of nowhere, but you still want to live in a city?  I understand there is a Reasonable Commuting Distance, but what is the "real world" answer?

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You land, debrief, log in to three different computers to find one that works, you do your post mission paperwork, and it's now 2am.  Are you gonna drive home?

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We've had a full timer that lived 4.5 hours away and did great.  We've have part-timers that lived 1.5-2 hours away that struggled.  It's all up to the individual.  

In the scenario presented by Nunya, aside from being a perfect test on if you consider yourself a commuter, 2am is entirely to late to be at the base anyway!  The lead needs to learn to be more efficient during night weeks.  I would have left after the second computer didn't work...it's going to cost the .gov another pay card to log the paperwork when they unfuck their computer systems.  

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, SocialD said:

We've had a full timer that lived 4.5 hours away and did great.  We've have part-timers that lived 1.5-2 hours away that struggled.  It's all up to the individual.  

In the scenario presented by Nunya, aside from being a perfect test on if you consider yourself a commuter, 2am is entirely to late to be at the base anyway!  The lead needs to learn to be more efficient during night weeks.  I would have left after the second computer didn't work...it's going to cost the .gov another pay card to log the paperwork when they unfuck their computer systems.  

Who you kiddin, it’s mostly the same crew that always flys nights, even some fighter pilots are sure the F-16 doesn’t work at night.

As far as distance, some units require a 2 hour drive time max, quote law all you want, that’s the rule and they’ll find others ways to enforce it.  Go ahead and be “that guy” and see how far you get. (Usually fighter units with an alert tasking, a lot of good reasons for it)

Edited by matmacwc

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43 minutes ago, matmacwc said:

Who you kiddin, it’s mostly the same crew that always flys nights, even some fighter pilots are sure the F-16 doesn’t work at night.

As far as distance, some units require a 2 hour drive time max, quote law all you want, that’s the rule and they’ll find others ways to enforce it.  Go ahead and be “that guy” and see how far you get. (Usually fighter units with an alert tasking, a lot of good reasons for it)

It’s a pilots world now and beggars can’t be choosers. Or they can at their own demise.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

As far as distance, some units require a 2 hour drive time max, quote law all you want, that’s the rule and they’ll find others ways to enforce it.  Go ahead and be “that guy” and see how far you get. (Usually fighter units with an alert tasking, a lot of good reasons for it)

 

I've know of one squadron that does this, and frankly I'm surprised it's still in place.  Our former OG looked into this and concluded that he couldn't legally institute such a policy.  He felt that, in the end, he could just be exposing the Squadron/Guard/AF to IG/legal issues if someone wanted to pursue it.   I agree that there are some valid reasons it, but don't think it should be a hard/fast rule.  But whatever works for the local leadership at the time.

Funny you use the alert tasking as a reason...you guys often calling in dudes for the ever present Mexican Air Force threat? 🤣 It was thanks to alert that we've had people actually live further away.  Some sacrifices on their part, but it allowed them to keep momma happy and still be good participants.  

Edited by SocialD

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