Sailors unable to take leave due to COVID-19 restrictions now have extra time to use their leave. That's because the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs has approved Special Leave Accrual (SLA) for fiscal year (FY) 2021. This was announced in NAVADMIN 159/21, released July 28.
SLA is authorized for Sailors that performed active service in FY21 and allows them to carry over more than 60 days of leave into the next fiscal year. Sailors may not, however, carry more than 120 days of leave as part of SLA. This SLA approval only protects a Sailor’s leave balance as of September 30, 2021, and will not affect leave earned after that date unless additional SLA is authorized for that fiscal year.
“We sought this approval, recognizing that leave is vital to morale, level of performance and career motivation for our Sailors,” said Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, the chief of naval personnel. “I will ask that Commanders continue to encourage and provide Sailors with the opportunity to use their leave as much as possible in the year in which it is earned.”
Sailors have until Sept. 30, 2024 to whittle their balance back down to the 60-day limit.
At the end of normal fiscal years, unused leave exceeding 60 days is lost. SLA temporarily increases that limit up to 120 days. This extra allowed leave balance will be noted in a Sailor’s Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). A Sailor’s SLA balance is calculated as the difference between “Combat Zone LV Carryover Balance” on their LES and the authorized maximum leave carryover balance, which is 60 days.
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.
Enlisted members with 120 or more days can sell back unused leave, however, the law limits this to once in a career and only up to 60 days total. Officers are not authorized to sell back leave in this situation.
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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