DoD Adopts New Non-Chargeable Leave Policy

Today, the Department of Defense will be adopting a new policy that will give some servicemembers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan as many as 15 days of administrative absence (Non-Chargeable Rest and Recuperation Leave) said Sam Retherford, the director for officer and enlisted personnel management in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

“This designation provides an additional benefit specifically for those servicemembers deployed to the most arduous combat areas,” said Retherford. “Administrative absence days, in conjunction with government-funded transportation for R&R, allow servicemembers to save and use their annual leave for reintegration with their families and communities when they return home,” he said.

The approved absences are contingent upon mission requirements, and are only authorized for those servicemembers who participate in the NCR&R program.

NCR&R benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan are effective March 23.

Each combatant command may request the under secretary of defense for Personnel and Readiness designate additional locations for NCR&R, provided they meet all of the following eligibility criteria.

  • The areas/locations must be a location where U.S. forces have been engaged in combat operations against a hostile force within the last six months and where actual combat operations are expected to continue.
  • The area/location must meet R&R leave program criteria.
  • The area/location must be a combat zone designated by presidential executive order.
  • The area/location must be an area where servicemembers are exposed to the most arduous conditions (for example, those locations authorized hardship duty pay).

Read more about the new policy on Defense.gov.

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20 Responses to DoD Adopts New Non-Chargeable Leave Policy

  1. Cheryl says:

    This should have been done a long time ago. And I think it should be retroactive for the ones who are deployed there right now and have already taken their R&R. My husband was home for R&R about a month ago.

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  3. Brian says:

    This is one of those benefits that bureacrats under appreciate. This should have been instituted years ago and, at least, backdated to Oct 09 with the beginning of the fiscal year. There are folks doing time when this was finally approved that deserved the same respect, but had already taken leave while this policy was just sitting. How about doing the right thing and backdating i, even if it means some admin folks not over here have to do a little extra work to compensate those in the combat zone.

  4. Darin says:

    I feel that this is a good thing to institute; however, I’m currently serving in Iraq and have already taken leave. I will lose two weeks pay and thousands of dollars. Approximately half of my battle buddies are going to benefit, while the other half are going to miss out and get a raw deal. I think the DOD really messed up when they forgot the soldiers that are currently deployed. This oversight or blatant lack of care is WRONG!

  5. Sarah says:

    This policy at least needs to be extended to the soldiers in country when the policy went into affect who have already taken leave. The justification for the new policy is;

    “Administrative absence days, in conjunction with government-funded transportation for R&R, allow servicemembers to save and use their annual leave for reintegration with their families and communities when they return home,”

    So that means the soldiers who took leave before the policy came out don’t have families to reintegrate with? For my family getting those 15 days back would mean being able to spend Christmas together since we missed this past one.

  6. Joe says:

    I understand it’s not practical to make the policy retractive for prior deployments. The cost would be substantial and create an administrative nightmare. And the point is allowing troops more time with their families right after redeployment. It’s too late for that for our previous deployments.

    But the right thing to do is cover anyone who is currently deployed and has already taken their R&R this deployment. It’s not those soldiers’ fault that they may have taken leave in January or Febraury but the policy didn’t get all the required signatures until March. They are still due to come home to their families and could benefit greatly from the extra re-integration time. Anyone going through the demobilization process should have their leave restored.

  7. david says:

    what about soldiers deployed to kuwait. or on harship duty tours like korea that are still on the RR policy. buts not a combat zone???????

  8. Pete says:

    are you serious im on r&r right now and they decided to change it now.. i got here to states on march 15th

  9. carmello waters says:

    does anyone know where to find the actual policy letter on this? if so can you email a link to me at carmellowaters@yahoo.com….thanks

  10. Ryan Donald says:

    As an administrative professional in the Army, I agree with Joe, if this was retroactive it would create an administrative nightmare for the active duty personnel. For the national guard and reserve soldiers it would present completly different issues and it would not be practical to allow the policy to be retroactive.
    You just have to remember, this is great opportunity for the soldiers who are currently deployed. This will allow them to save their leave and build up that savings while they are deployed. Once the service members return to their home station they will be able to use those 15 days of leave and use them at a later time to bond with their families. Fifteen days they previosuly did not have to re-connect with their children and wives they now have. Once again this demonstrates the Army’s commitment to the Soldier and family showing that the Soldiers and families are truely important to the Army.

  11. Bonnie says:

    I believe that all leave for individuals currently in country on the effective date should NOT be charge, regardless. I took leave in Feb and if I had this policy I would of waited. The only reason I took leave in Feb and not in April was because we were on a limited number of soldiers per month and the junior soldiers had the other leave dates booked. I agree with Ryan and Joe on the previous deployments, but not on the current status of deployed soldiers.

  12. Rod says:

    This is a great program but they crapped on the soldiers whom already took leave on their current deployment. For instance, I just got back from my R&R in March and I do not qualify because I already had my leave form approved before the program.

    I think soldiers whom took leave in fiscal year 2010 should get a credit for the leave days which were charged.

    I can’t believe Ryan, Administrative nightmare? Don’t you think soldiers whom risk their lives every day deserve a bit of respect? I was forces to take leave on my 9th (March 2010) month here in Afghanistan even though I didn’t want to and then this policy comes out. This is just another way to lower the morale of the troops in Afghanistan again.

    I am a career soldier so I will deal with it regardless. But why can’t our fearless leadership lead by example and do the right thing. I can just bet that out higher leadership waited to take their leave and it can be attributed to insider trading in my opinion.

  13. Batchelor says:

    This should be retroactive for any service member that has been deployed to either operation. I did a 15 month tour to iraq and a 12 month to afghanistan. and im struggling with leave days because as soon as i got to my unit we got deployed for 15 months, 8 months after that i was in afghanistan. so if i can have the 30 days back that i used for R&R id be happy

  14. Dan Munson says:

    I love this policy but I agree with the previous posters regarding folks that are overlooked currently deployed. The policy took effect the day I got back from leave. If there is enough grumbling it might be the case.

  15. Bud Croy says:

    I have to agree with the majority of the people who have already commented. This policy should be retro for those who already went on leave and are still in theater when the policy went into effect. I personally am a Army reservist who was mobilized for one year back in May 09. I was taken away from my family and job. Which is one sacrifice that alot of people have made, but it sure would have been nice to have a month off to spend with my family when I return( in stead of 2 weeks and then back to work. The policy is also not fair to those who were forced to take leave right before the policy came out knowing the rest of their guys after them would not be charged. I would suggest that we all write our congressman and let them know how we feel.
    Respectfully SFC Croy

  16. Big Mike says:

    How is it fair that people who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan reap the benefits of free leave while those that are serving in Kosovo get nothing. Most of us didn’t have the opportunity to pick where we were sent. I have served in Iraq and am currently serving in Kosovo, and I would much rather spend time in Iraq or Afghanistan than a single second more in Kosovo. The Department of Defense needs to find better criteria to base their free leave policy on. If you receive tax-free money and hardship duty pay you should get the non-chargeable leave.

  17. Daniel C Kaneff says:

    Wow, whiners, last time I was in a combat zone, I didn’t even get a chance at leave. The time before that, no one had even thought of giving leave in a combat zone. The government, for once, hands us a gift and people whine about it. By the way, the key word in all of this is Combat Zone. Of course only the people being shot at on a daily basis, wondering if their kids are going to be orphaned, getting free leave that’s just unfair (insert sarcasm here). Give me a break whiners, where does it end? ” I didn’t get my first duty station choice so I should get free leave too!” (insert more sarcasm)

  18. Gibecca says:

    I say congrats to the people that get awarded this incentive. That should be the end of it. I have served two tours and had chargeable leave…so what. The reason that we do AARs and pass information up is to get corrective active accomplished. Well, mission accomplished. Be thankful that we have helped the incoming soldiers to receive a new benefit and quit being so selfish.

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