Canceled spring break? Troops can now carry over up to 120 days leave this year, thanks to COVID-19 travel ban
In addition to canceling training and postponing permanent change-of-station moves, the Defense Department’s March 12 stop-movement order threatened to eat up precious vacation time for service members, as canceled leave and restrictions on anything but local travel has grounded many troops.
But as it’s looking more and more like the coronavirus pandemic will be keeping America at home into the summer, DoD has decided to relax its restrictions on accumulating vacation days.
“Leave is vital to the continued health and welfare of our service members and civilian workforce and is key to the secretary of defense’s first priority in responding to COVID-19 ― protecting our service members," Matthew Donovan, the defense under secretary for personnel and readiness, wrote in a Thursday memo.
The new policy, backdated to March 11, allows troops to accumulate more than the standard 60 days of leave ― though no more than 120 ― through September 30. They will have until Sept. 30, 2023 to use up that excess leave, Donovan added.
“Commanders will continue to encourage and to provide members with the opportunity to use their leave in the year in which it is earned,” Donovan wrote.