Regular Air Force: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet


Time away from duties and training is critical for the continued well-being of Service members. The Department of the Air Force provides a number of benefits to provide Service members opportunities for time away from their jobs.


Active duty Service members are eligible to participate in leave programs.  Retired Service members are not eligible to participate in the various leave programs unless recalled to active duty.

Benefit Highlights

The following sections summarize various types of leave available for active duty Service members. As with any job, mission requirements, duty assignment or training requirements may require Service members to work on certain holidays and weekends. These requirements may also impact the scheduling of annual leave.

tree at sunset Annual Leave: Active duty Service members earn 2.5 days of annual (chargeable) leave for each month of service, for a total of 30 days per year. Currently, Service members can bank up to 60 days of leave at the end of the fiscal year. Any additional days above 60 days will be forfeited at the beginning of the next fiscal year (October 1). Each Service member has an individual responsibility to monitor and manage their leave. Current leave balances are recorded on the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), which can be viewed at myPay.

Special Leave Accrual:

  • Service members serving in hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas (combat zone) for 120 days or more can accumulate and carry over up to 120 days of leave (60 days of ordinary leave, plus 60 days of SLA) into the next fiscal year. SLA-protected leave appears in the Remarks section of Leave and Earnings Statements (LES) as "Combat Zone LV Carryover Bal" along with the expiration date. SLA protection ends either on the expiration date or when a Service member's current leave balance (Cr Bal) drops to 60 days or less. SLA days cannot be sold, and must be used before their expiration date.

  • By law, 120 days is the maximum leave that can be carried over into a new fiscal year with SLA protection

  • SLA is the only mechanism by which more than 60 days can be carried over into a new fiscal year.

Leave Sell Back:

Enlisted personnel with more than 120 days of leave accrued may, on a one-time basis, sell back up to 30 days of leave in excess of the 120-day limit. Such leave sell back counts against the 60-day leave sell back limitation during a Service member's military career.

Additional Information

Department of the Air Force Instruction AFI 36-3003 Military Leave Programs:

Air Force Personnel Command:

DoD Instruction NUMBER 1327.06, Leave and Liberty Policy and Procedures:

DoD 7000.14-R, “Department of Defense Financial Management Regulations (FMRs),” Volume 7A, “Military Pay Policy and Procedures - Active Duty and Reserve Pay:

Document Review Date: 22 February 2023