Special Leave Accrual, or SLA, allows service members 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.

The Secretary of the Army approved SLA July 15 for fiscal year 2021.

SLA for FY21 enables Soldiers who performed active service during FY21 to have up to 120 days of leave – as shown on their end of month September 2021 Leave and Earnings Statement – protected from loss until the end of FY24 – Sept. 30, 2024.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, or DFAS, will automatically include the appropriate amount of SLA days and will be reflected in the Soldier’s Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES. Beginning with the end of month LES for October, the remarks section will contain the phrase “Combat Zone LV Carryover Bal.”

Leave earned after Sept. 30, will not be SLA protected unless earned during an eligible deployment in accordance with established policy. 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.

It is extremely unlikely that any additional SLA extensions in connection with COVID-19 will occur.

The Army encourages Soldiers and commanders to manage, request and approve leave to provide respite from the work environment and avoid losing leave.

Commanders must continue to encourage and to provide Soldiers with the opportunity to use their leave in the year in which it is earned.

Leave is vital to the contribution of morale, level of performance and career motivation for our Soldiers. Soldiers work very hard and using leave – regardless of the leave location – provides a well-earned rest from the Army work environment so Soldiers return to duty rested and ready for the next mission.

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