Military Services' Policy of Advancing Leave to Enlisted Personnel

FPCD-78-30: Published: May 24, 1978. Publicly Released: May 24, 1978.

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During the first 6 months of 1977, over 21,000 Army, Navy, and Air Force enlisted personnel left the services with unliquidated advance leave, owing the government over $3.2 million. About two-thirds of this amount was recouped from the members' final pay, but about one-third became an unsatisfied debt to the government. Advance leave is chargeable leave which exceeds a member's current leave balance but does not exceed the amount of leave that will be earned during his current enlistment. It provides a means whereby service members with limited accrued leave may be granted leave to resolve emergency and urgent personal or morale problems. A test of 157 randomly selected enlisted members separated in an excess leave status during the first half of 1977 showed that they were advanced 488 periods of leave: 3.9 percent were for emergency purposes, 32 percent for change of duty station, and 27 percent for ordinary leave. During the latter part of 1977, over 270,000 enlisted personnel on active duty had negative leave balances of about 2.6 million days, representing an estimated value of about $113 million. Because of the high attrition rate of first-term enlisted personnel, it is difficult to have great expectations that the leave will be earned by the members during the remaining term of their obligated active duty. The Secretary of Defense should initiate a program to generate an increased understanding and awareness on the part of leave administrators of their responsibilities for prudent use of authority to grant advance leave and to fully inform service members early in their enlistments of their leave rights and the consequences of imprudent or unnecessary use of advanced leave.

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