Army Reserve: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet



Time away from duties and training is critical for the continued well-being of Soldiers. The Army provides a number of benefits that provide Soldiers with the opportunity to have time away from their jobs.


Members of the Army Reserve serving on active duty or initial active duty for training or active duty training for a period of 30 or more consecutive days for which they are entitled to pay are eligible to participate in the various leave programs.

Benefit Highlights:

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

Annual Leave: Active duty Soldiers earn 2.5 days of annual leave (vacation) for each month of service, for a total of 30 days per year. Currently, Soldiers can bank up to 75 days of leave. Any additional days above 75 days are forfeited at the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1). Each Soldier has an individual responsibility to monitor and manage their leave.

New changes in leave policy for the armed forces were directed in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 and extended in the National Defense Act of 2010. These changes are retroactive to 28 January 2008 and include:

Increased Leave Accrual: The amount of leave allowed to accrue temporarily increased from 60 days to 75 days effective 28 January 2008 until 30 September 2015. At this time DOD has expressed no intention to request further extension of the 75 day leave carryover.

Special Leave Accrual:
a) Personnel serving in hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas (combat zone) for 120 days or more can accumulate up to 120 days of leave and retain it for up to four fiscal years after the FY earned, rather than three, effective January 2008. At the end of the four years, any amount accrued over 75 days will be lost. SLA earned in theater is automatically coded as SLA leave by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) computers when Soldiers are in receipt of Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay and is listed on a Soldiers Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) in the Remarks block as "SLA or CZTE leave (x number of days) and expiration FY."

b) Personnel serving in "direct support" of a contingency operation can accumulate up to 120 days of leave and retain it for up to two fiscal years after the FY earned.

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 Soldier's military career.

Army Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence (PDMRA) Leave: The revised PDMRA program modified qualifying deployments/mobilizations commencing on or after 01 October 2011. The new accrual rates for both AC/AGR and RC Soldiers (when the Soldier is on an eligible second qualifying mobilization/deployment) is two days of PDMRA per month for service in Iraq and Afghanistan. RC Soldiers earn one day of PDMRA per month for service in other foreign OCONUS locations (Germany, Japan, Kosovo, UK, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, etc.).

Holidays: U.S. public holidays established by Federal statute shall be observed, except when prevented by military operations. When such holidays fall on a Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be considered a holiday, and when such holidays fall on a Sunday, the succeeding Monday shall be considered a holiday. Holidays are to be charged as leave if they fall within the effective dates of leave. The following is a list of national holidays that may be observed:

  • New Year's Day, January 1.
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
  • Washington's Birthday, the third Monday in February.
  • Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
  • Independence Day, July 4.
  • Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
  • Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
  • Veterans Day, November 11.
  • Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
  • Christmas Day, December 25.

Sick Leave: (Non Chargeable Leave) Soldiers who fall ill for a short period of time and are expected to return to duty within 72 hours are classified as Sick-in-Quarters. During this period, the Soldier may be excused from duty for treatment, or medically directed self-treatment. For periods longer than 72 hours or that requires hospitalization, the Soldier is classified as Sick-in-Hospital. As with Sick-in-Quarters, the Soldier is excused from duty during the period of hospitalization.

Unused Leave: Soldiers with a positive leave balance of 60 days or less at the time of discharge or re-enlistment may be entitled to sell back leave. The leave is paid at the same rate as the Soldiers' basic pay; each day of leave is worth a day of pay. A Soldier may not sell back any leave that is carried over to a new enlistment, but may receive payment for any leave not carried over to a new enlistment. Unused leave may not be sold back if a Soldier is discharged for the purpose of accepting a commission or a warrant in any uniformed service.

Leave Carryover: The National Defense Act of 2011 authorizes RC Soldiers who accumulate leave during a period of active service may carry over this leave to a future period of active service. Soldiers may carry over up to 60 days of annual accrued leave to a future period of active duty.

Additional Information:

For more information on these leave programs and other programs that may be available, please review Army Regulation 600-8-10, Leaves and Passes:

For other PDMRA policy changes along with new guidance governing PDMRA:

To view the Department of Defense's Memorandum on NDAA 2010, Section 504 10 USC 701(d), Changes as it pertains to leave, please visit:

Document Review Date: 26 August 2013