Special Leave Accrual (SLA) and Use/Lose Leave Balances - Reserve/Guard

The information on this site is intended to help you understand what SLA is, and how to interpret your SLA on your LES. 
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 check the DoD Financial Management Regulation, Chapter 35, 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
Member of the Reserve Component:
How to determine if you qualify for SLA off of your Leave and Earning Statement (LES)
  1. If you qualify for Special Leave Accrual (SLA), your “CR BAL” (Current Balance) on the LEAVE row will be greater than 60 days on your October 1, 2021 LES.
  2. There will be an LES remark that will show up when an LES is produced which will show your current SLA balance and when the SLA will expire. The remark will read “PROTECTED SPECIAL LEAVE ACCRUAL BALANCE = XX.X Expires DD MMM YYYY”
  3. Your “Use/Lose” balance field on the LES is now:
    1. Any normal leave set to expire September 30, 2022.
 Reservist Examples: The following examples are for Reserve Component (RC) service members only. 
  1. Reservist carries forward SLA into FY22 but does not earn or take leave in FY22.
  2. Reservist takes leave but SLA balance remains unchanged.
  3. Reservist takes leave, balance at end of fiscal year below established maximum.
  4. Reservist takes leave, balance at end of fiscal year 60 days or less.
Page updated March 5, 2022