COVID-19 Special Leave Accrual: What you need to know

Each year, all active-duty service members earn 30 days of leave. Normally at the end of each fiscal year, any unused leave exceeding 60 days is lost. This year is different.

With the leniency granted due to the pandemic travel restrictions, affected service members can now carry leave balances of up to 120 days with a “use or lose” date of Sept. 30, 2023. That means, beyond that date, any days exceeding 60 will be lost.

No action is required by either the Sailor or their command to retain this leave as it is automatically tracked by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

This means, anyone with less than 60 days of leave on the books as of Sept. 30, 2020 is not affected by this policy.

Sailors with more than 60 days of earned leave — but less than 120 days of accrued leave as of Sept. 30 will see that entire balance carried over.

Those with more than 120 days of accrued leave as of Sept. 30, 2020 will lose those days as their leave balance will be reduced to 120 days.

This extra allowed leave balance will be noted in the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) starting Oct. 31, 2020. Sailors will find their balance in the LES remarks section as “CZ leave carry over bal” along with the expiration date. This remark will no longer appear on an LES once an accrued leave balance is reduced to 60 days or less, or when the expiration date is passed.

Any days earned after Sept. 30 are not protected by this authority and will not be exempt are subject to expire under the normal 60-day rules.

However, this accrual’s effective dates and expiration do not affect leave accrued and protected under separate authorizations. This includes leave earned by Sailors during eligible deployments to hostile fire pay (HFP) or imminent danger pay (IDP) zones.

For more information on military pay entitlements, and instructions on how to read an LES go to https://www.dfas.mil/MilitaryMembers/payentitlements/aboutpay/.

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