Special Leave Accrual (SLA) and Use/Lose Leave Balances - Active Duty

The information on this page is intended to help you understand what SLA is and how to interpret your SLA and Use/Lose leave balances on your LES. 
Based on the continuing impact of COVID-19 and service members' ability to take leave during the national emergency, the military services will extend SLA through fiscal year 2021 (FY21). Service members that perform active service (as defined in 10 U.S.C § 701(a)) during FY21 are authorized to accumulate annual leave in excess of 60 days (not to exceed 120 days) as shown on the end of month September 2021 Leave and Earnings Statement. This SLA leave balance may be retained until the end of FY24 (30 September 2024).
Leave earned after 30 September 2021 will not be SLA protected unless earned during an eligible deployment. Leave earned above the SLA protected balance in FY22 and beyond must be used during the fiscal year it was earned or will be lost at the end of that fiscal year. Service members are responsible for tracking and managing their own leave.
Accrued Leave
Leave accrues to a service member serving on active duty for 30 days or more. It accrues at the rate of 2½ days for each month of active service, excluding periods of absence from duty without leave. For partial months, it accrues at the rate of ½ day for any period of 6 days or less
What is SLA?
Normally a member may not carry forward a leave balance of more than 60 days into a new fiscal year. SLA is an exception to that rule. Under certain circumstances, like COVID19, members may be authorized to carry forward more than 60 days. For more information regarding rules governing the SLA, please click here and read Section 350202.   
Key Points from the DoDFMR pertaining to SLA
  • Effective March 11, 2020, through September 30, 2021, service members performing active service are authorized to accumulate annual leave in excess of 60 days not to exceed 120 days as shown on the end of month September 2021 Leave and Earnings Statement. Such members are authorized to retain such unused leave until the end of fiscal year 2024 (September 30, 2024).
  • The maximum amount of SLA leave that may be carried forward is the leave balance at the end of the fiscal year, following the end of the SLA period, not to exceed 120 days. 
  • The maximum amount will be reduced to a new level whenever the leave balance drops below the previously set level. If at any time, the leave balance drops to or goes below 60 days, then there is no longer any SLA protected leave.
  • Leave will be accounted for by crediting it sequentially in the chronological order in which it is accrued. Generally, when used, leave will be charged with the most recently accrued leave charged first. This method is known as Last In, First Out.
How to determine if you qualify for SLA off of your Leave and Earning Statement (LES)
  1. On the bottom in the Remarks Section, if you qualify for SLA regardless of your circumstance, there will be a remark that reads “PROTECTED SPECIAL LEAVE ACCRUAL BALANCE = XX.X Expires DD MMM YYYY”.
    1. The Protected Special Leave Accrual is your allowable leave carryover balance.
    2. The remark also includes the expiration date of your SLA. 
  2. Your “Use/Lose” balance field on the LES is now:
    1. Any normal leave set to expire September 30, 2022
Active Duty Examples: The following examples are for Active Component (AC) service members only. Reserve Component (RC) examples will be available soon.

SLA carry-over maximum balances were established on September 30, 2021. The following examples show how that balance is adjusted over subsequent fiscal years.
  1. Member does not take leave during following fiscal year, balance in excess of established maximum.
  2. Member takes leave, balance remains unchanged.
  3. Member takes leave, balance at end of fiscal year below established maximum.
  4. Member takes leave balance at end of fiscal year 60 days or less.
Page updated October 4, 2022