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If you are active duty in any of the five branches of the armed forces or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) you earn 30 days of leave (paid vacation) every year. Leave is paid vacation from duty for recreation and relief (R&R). This includes the Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army Reserve that are serving on active duty or initial active duty for training or active duty for training for a period of 30 or more consecutive days for which they are entitled to pay may accrue paid leave time.

Congress under Federal Law mandates leave however, when you take it is contingent on a number or variables. You must get approval before taking leave and if you are needed for military operations your may be denied. You may also take leave for personal reasons and emergency situations.

How is Leave accrued?
Leave is earned at a rate of 2.5 days for each month of service. Individuals can accrue (save) up to 60 days of leave over a two-year period of time. Leave balances are evaluated on October 1 (the first day of the fiscal year). Prior to September 11, 2001 if a service member had leave in access of 60 days they would forfeit the excess on October 1. After September 11, 2001 Congress pas a law that changed this policy to allow Special Leave Accrual. Under Special Leave Accruel the Armed Forces are now authorized to allow service members that would otherwise lose their leave on October 1 to carry up to 90 days into the next fiscal year. In order to evoke this special leave policy the service member must be:

  • deployment to an operational mission at the national level for at least 60 consecutive days.

  • Assignment or deployment for at least 60 consecutive days to unit, headquarters, and supporting staffs when their involvement supporting a designated operational mission prohibits them from taking leave.

  • Deployment to a hostile-fire or imminent danger pay area for 120 or more consecutive days and receive this special pay for 4 or more consecutive months. In this situation, Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)- Denver will automatically carry over up to 30 days of leave. NOTE: In some instances, the deployment may overlap 2 Fiscal Years, for example, a deployment from 15 September until 14 November.

Leave must begin and end in place of residence from which the member commutes to the duty station on a daily basis. For example, if you are stationed at Fort Rucker in Georgia but live in Washington your leave begins at Fort Rucker, not when you arrive in your home state. This also applies to leave en route to a PCS or TDY assignment. In this case, the local area, as defined at the old and new permanent duty station (PDS), applies. The old PDS is for beginning leave; the new PDS is for ending leave. Making a false statement of leave taken may result in punitive action under the UCMJ.

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You can view the Army Directive that regulates Leave by clicking here.







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