Expanded use-or-lose leave law set to expire soon

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WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With the expiration of a law that allowed service members to carry up to 75 days of leave from one fiscal year to the next, troops should plan to carry no more than 60 days of leave into fiscal year 2016, defense officials recently announced.

Service members will automatically lose any accumulated ordinary leave in excess of 60 days on Oct. 1, 2015, officials said. Troops covered by special leave accrual rules may still carry up to 120 days from one fiscal year to the next, officials noted.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 extended the authority to carry over an additional 15 days of leave (total of 75 days) to Sept. 30, 2015.

Previous authority was set to expire Sept. 30, 2013, but the Defense Department recommended a two-year extension of the 75 day leave carry-over limit in 2013, to provide ample time for affected members to plan and use accumulated leave and to coincide with the reduction of combat posture in Afghanistan.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 initially extended the 2008 temporary authorization for all service members to carryover an additional 15 days of leave because the high operations tempo resulted in less opportunity for members to use the leave they earned.

The 75-day leave carry-over limit does not apply to members who qualify for Special Leave Accrual; they may carry over up to 120 days of leave.