by Joe Burlas
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 10, 2001) -- Soldiers may carry up to 80 days worth of leave into the new fiscal year because of the increased military tempo created by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and New York World Trade Center, according to Defense officials.
Normally, service members may only carry over 60 days leave from year to year. Unless special circumstances exist, leave in excess of 60 days is usually lost at the end of the fiscal year.
The Department of Defense directed all services to allow the special leave accrual of up to 80 days in a memorandum dated Sept. 18. The Total Army Personnel Command issued special leave accrual instructions for soldiers Sept. 27.
"DoD is doing this because it's just the right thing to do," said Lt. Col. Nobel Lugo, a finance action officer with the Army's Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. "A lot of military leaves were canceled immediately following the attacks due to a significant need to increase force protection at all Army installations. This special leave accrual authority will allow those soldiers to take up to an additional 20 days excess leave they've earned in FY 2001 and use it by the end of FY 2004."
The reason why an additional 20 days was selected, rather than another number, is because 20 days is all the leave that someone could have scheduled between the day of the attacks and the end of FY 2001 -- Sept. 11-30, he explained.
Earned military leave accrues at the rate of 2.5 days per month of active federal service. Reservists only accrue military leave when called to active-duty for periods of 30 days or more.
Civilian leave is based on the calendar year, instead of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
Neither the Office of Personnel Management nor the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs has implemented a blanket authorization for Department of the Army civilians to carry over any excess annual leave into 2002 above the normal caps. However, existing OPM guidance on restoration of annual leave provides some opportunities to do so based upon exigency of public business or sickness. That guidance can be found on the OPM website at http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/html/restore.htm .