Special Leave Accrual (SLA)

Special Leave Accrual (SLA) allows service members who serve in hostile fire / imminent danger (HF/IDP) area for a continuous period of at least 120 days to accumulate and retain up to 90 days of leave (60 days of ordinary leave, plus 30 days of SLA-protected leave). The intent of SLA is to provide relief to service members who are not allowed leave when undergoing lengthy deployment or during periods of hostility.

Effective January 1, 2023: The SLA maximum leave cap is being reduced from 120 to 90 days, and service members will have two fiscal years to use the excess leave above 60 days. The end of fiscal year 2023 (September 30, 2023) is the first point at which the 90 days will apply. Service members who had a current SLA balance over 60 days will fall into one of two categories, which is determined by their overall SLA leave balance as of December 31, 2022.

Category 1: Service members who have SLA leave balance of 90 days or below on December 31, 2022.

  • Will have a new SLA cap of 90 days applied to their SLA leave balances in FY23
  • Any excess leave above 90 days will be forfeited by September 30, 2023

Category 2: Service members who have SLA leave balance of 90.5 days or above on December 31, 2022.

  • Normal 120 day cap applies
  • Service members’ original SLA expiration date will stay the same
  • When the service member’s balance decreases to 90 days or below, between FY23 to FY26, the service member will be moved to category 1, and the 90 day cap applied going forward

The revised provisions of law made by the FY23 NDAA does negatively impact the unused SLA leave of service members who accumulated SLA leave due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 or due to other reasons that occurred before FY23. Service members may continue to use this SLA leave according to the timelines previously established by their Service.

One-Time Leave Payment. An enlisted service member of the Armed Forces who would lose accumulated leave in excess of the 90 days may elect to be paid a lump sum payment of up to 30 days of forfeited leave. This election can only be taken once during a career. This leave payment does apply against the 60 days of leave paid during a career.