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Military Leaves, Passes, and Liberty

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A member who is unable to report to duty upon expiration of leave because of illness or injury must advise the leave approving authority. A family member, attending physician, representative at the nearest MTF, or American Red Cross (ARC) representative may act on the member’s behalf when the member is incapacitated and unable to provide notification. Upon returning from leave, the member must present a statement from the nearest medical treatment facility (MTF) or attending physician regarding the member’s medical condition. (NOTE: The unit commander may consult with the local MTF for clarification.) If admitted to the hospital, the member’s duty status changes to inpatient on the date admitted. If desired, the member can revert to leave status when released from the hospital. However, this requires a new leave form and authorization number. Unless a competent authority excuses a member, the member must be available for duty by 2400 on the last day of leave. Failure to return by 2400 the day after the last day of leave is an unauthorized absence and can constitute AWOL except when the absence is unavoidable.

Extension of Leave

An individual may ask for and receive an extension of leave only when the situation warrants it and military requirements permit it. The individual should ask for the extension well enough in advance to allow a timely return to duty if the proper authority does not grant the extension. To make a reasonable decision on short notice, the request must include a specific reason for the extension, period desired, status of leave account, and expiration of term of service (ETS).

Recall from Leave

Unit commanders may recall members from leave for military necessity or in the best interest of the service. Refer to the Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) to determine if travel and transportation allowances apply. If the unit commander authorizes the member to resume leave after the member completes the duty that resulted in recall, a new leave form or orders must be prepared.

Types of Leave

DoD Directive 1327.5 defines several types of leave:

Regular Leave. Another name for “ordinary” leave is annual leave. Normally, members request leave, as accruing (earning), within mission requirements. Members use annual leave to take a vacation, attend to parental family needs such as illnesses, during traditional national holiday periods, for attendance at spiritual events or other religious observances, and/or as terminal leave with retirement or separation from active duty.

Advance Leave. Advance leave is chargeable leave that exceeds the member’s current leave balance but does not exceed the amount of leave that will be earned during the remaining period of enlistment. If a member separates, reenlists, or retires earlier than planned, he or she must reimburse the Government for any advance leave that becomes excess. Advance leave is appropriate for urgent personal or emergency situations and for leave en route during PCS or TDY but cannot be more than the minimum amount of time needed. Many commanders will not approve advanced leave except in cases of emergency.

Convalescent Leave. Convalescent leave is an authorized absence normally for the minimal time needed to meet the medical needs for recuperation. This is not chargeable leave. Unit commanders normally approve convalescent leave based on recommendations by either the MTF (Military Treatment Facility) authority or physician most familiar with the member’s medical condition. When a member elects civilian medical care at personal expense determined by a military physician to be a medical procedure considered as elective by military MTF authorities, such as cosmetic surgery, members must use ordinary leave for all absences from duty, including convalescence. When medical authorities determine a medical procedure is necessary, such as childbirth, and the member elects civilian medical care, the commander, upon the recommendation of a military doctor, may grant convalescent leave.

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