Special Leave Accrual (SLA)
Benefit Fact Sheet
Special Leave Accrual (SLA) allows Service members serving in hostile fire / imminent danger (HFP/IDP) areas for a continuous period of at least 120 days to accumulate and retain up to 120 days of leave (60 days of ordinary leave, plus 60 days of SLA-protected leave). The intent of SLA is to provide relief to Service members not allowed leave during lengthy deployments or during periods of hostility.
Based on the continuing impact of COVID-19 and Service members' ability to take leave during the national emergency, the military services extended SLA through fiscal year 2021 (FY21). Service members that performed active service (as defined in 10 U.S.C § 701(a)) during FY21 were 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. This SLA leave balance may be retained until the end of FY24 (30 September 2024).
Leave earned after 30 September 2021 will not be SLA protected unless earned during an eligible deployment. Leave earned above the SLA protected balance in FY22 and beyond must be used during the fiscal year it was earned or will be lost at the end of that fiscal year. Service members are responsible for tracking and managing their own leave.
SLA is authorized to Service members serving at least 120 continuous days in HFP/IDP areas. No additional criteria are required under this area for approval. Also, Service members assigned to a designated deployable ship, designated mobile unit, or other similar prescribed duty may be authorized SLA if operational requirements prevented use of leave.
Service members who meet all the following conditions may also qualify for special leave accrual:
Deployed for a lengthy period, normally 60 or more days
Deployed to meet a contingency operation of the United States
Deployed to enforce national policy or an international agreement based on a national emergency or in the need to defend national security
Prevented from using leave through the end of the FY because of deployment.
Service members may continue to qualify for the 120-day requirement for up to 90 days when hospitalized outside of the hostile fire area. Qualification is based on continued eligibility for hostile fire or imminent danger pay.
SLA authorizes Service members to carry forward up to 120 days of leave at the end of a FY (60 days normal leave plus 60 days special leave), if the leave was earned before or during a qualifying deployment. Leave earned after return from deployment is not SLA protected. DFAS will note number of days protected and the expiration date in the Remarks section of the Service member’s LES. These days are part of, not in addition to, the Soldier’s current leave balance (CR Bal).
Active duty members who serve in an OCONUS duty assignment in support of a contingency operation may also be authorized to accumulate annual leave in excess of 60.
SLA protection ends either on the expiration date or when the 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.
SLA earned in HFP/IDP areas (theater) is automatically coded as SLA leave by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) if Service members are in receipt of Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay.
Caution : Service members maintaining a maximum leave balance risk losing leave if the operational situation prevents them from using leave before the end of the fiscal year. Each Service member has an individual responsibility to monitor and manage their leave.
Note: SLA parameters are based on statutory law, not Army policy.
Requesting Special Leave Accrual
SLA requests based on a qualifying deployment, and therefore not requiring an exception to policy, are submitted by the S1 through the supporting Defense Military Pay Office (DMPO) to DFAS-Indianapolis.
SLA requests based on a hospitalization of 120 or more consecutive days are submitted by the Military Treatment Facility Commander through the supporting DMPO to DFAS-Indianapolis.
SLA requests not based on a qualifying deployment or lengthy hospitalization and, therefore, requiring an exception to policy, must be submitted through the G1 (general officer signature required) to HQDA DCS-G1 (DAPE-PRC).
Army Regulation 600-8-10, Leaves and Passes:
Army HRC Leaves and Passes Homepage:
DoD Instruction NUMBER 1327.06 regarding Leave and Liberty Policy and Procedures including Special Leave Accrual:
DoD 7000.14-R, "Department of Defense Financial Management Regulations (FMRs)," Volume 7A, "Military Pay Policy - Active Duty and Reserve Pay”:
Special Leave Accrual (SLA) and Use/Lose Leave Balances - Active Duty:
Special Leave Accrual (SLA) and Use/Lose Leave Balances - Reserve/Guard: