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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 3, 2024

Special Leave Accrual: What qualifies and what does not

By Kathy Murray, Senior Writer, MyCG

The Coast Guard received a record number of requests for Special Leave Accrual (SLA) last year but rejected nearly half of the claims because they didn’t qualify.  

As a result, the Service is issuing a reminder about the requirements for SLA.  

For FY23, the Coast Guard received 1,870 requests for SLA by the December 1 deadline, more than triple the average from previous years. The Assistant Commandant for Military Personnel (CG-1M) evaluated each request, approving 981 and rejecting 889.  

Most rejected claims were due to members not being deployed for 60 or more consecutive days away from homeport, or their deployment not supporting a designated operational mission. 

What qualifies as SLA?

In normal circumstances, service members may carry a maximum of 60 regular leave days from one fiscal year to the next. Under the SLA Program, they can request to carry over more than the normal 60-day maximum leave balance when an extraordinary situation prevents them from using their leave. That means circumstances caused by a catastrophe, national emergency, or crisis, or due to operations in defense of national security.  

Requirements for SLA are statutorily mandated and approval criteria for each year’s SLA requests are announced via ALCOAST. The published guidance for FY23 SLA requests included the following criteria for approval:

  • Deployment must last for at least 60 consecutive days.
  • Deployment must be in support of a designated operational mission as designated by Commandant (CG-1M). 
  • The deployment must be away from homeport or their permanent duty station. 
  • The member’s inability to take leave during the year cannot be due to personnel shortages, parental leave, or lack of qualified personnel. 
  • The member’s time away from homeport or PDS cannot be related to the cutter’s time away from homeport as a result of pre-commissioning administration or training, or for drydock/dockside maintenance.  

The Coast Guard wants members to be able to use their well-deserved leave during the year. Planning ahead will help individuals secure time off and prevent them from losing leave.  

If your SLA request is approved, you are permitted to carry over up to 30 additional leave days for a maximum of 90 days. Approved SLA must be used within two years before it expires, and regular earned leave must be used first prior to using SLA leave days.  

Looking ahead to 2024 

Guidance for FY24 SLA will be released in fourth quarter of the fiscal year. The deadline for FY24 requests will be December 1, 2024. Members are authorized to carry over up to 60 days of regular leave; and SLA may be authorized for those who meet the established criteria.  

For questions about SLA please email 



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