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.
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.
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.
Bereavement Leave: Directive-type Memorandum 23-003 –"Bereavement Leave for Service Members" implements the policy and procedures for the administration of bereavement leave for service members across the Department of Defense. The leave benefit was authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022.
In accordance with Section 701(l) of Title 10, U.S.C., a service member who experiences such a loss will be allowed up to 14 days of leave to be used in connection with the death of a spouse or child. A member with less than 30 days of accrued ordinary leave may be authorized bereavement leave for this purpose. Authority to grant bereavement leave will be extended to unit commanders.
Implementation Bereavement Leave:
- Immediate Effect: A service member whose spouse or child dies on or after DTM-23-003 effective date, and who was charged leave in connection with such death, may request such leave be restored through the process established by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned. Such leave will be restored if the service member would have been eligible for bereavement leave as described in DTM-23-003.
- Retroactive Period: A service member whose spouse or child died on or after June 25, 2022, and before DTM-23-003 effective date, and who was charged leave in connection with such death, may request such leave be restored through the process established by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned. Such leave will be restored if the service member would have been eligible for bereavement leave as described in DTM-23-003 and the member has not separated or retired from active service before the effective date of DTM-23-003.
Eligibility for Bereavement Leave:
- A service member whose spouse or child dies on or after June 25, 2022, and who has fewer than 30 days of accrued ordinary leave on the date of such death is eligible for bereavement leave.
- A service member whose spouse or child dies on or after June 25, 2022, and who has 30 or more days of accrued ordinary leave on the date of such death is eligible for bereavement leave once their accrued ordinary leave is less than 30 days.
Department of the Air Force Instruction DAFI 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: