The Marine Corps doubled the maximum amount of leave Marines and sailors with Marine units could accrue from 60 days to 120 days in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Marine administrative message released on Monday.
And now, that expanded accrual will be extended.
During the pandemic the Marine Corps restricted certain forms of leave, such as completely canceling the traditional 10-day boot camp leave block. Some Marines opted to not take leave while travel restrictions were in place.
Troops now have until the end of the fiscal year of September 2024 to use fiscal year 2021 leave, per a memorandum from the secretary of the Navy, according to the message.
The extension was in response to Marines and sailors who have been unable to use their leave balances, according to Marine officials.
When COVID-19 restrictions were first put into place the Corps allowed special leave accrual of up to 120 days for Marines who served from March 11, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2020.
Any Marine or sailor who served more than 29 days on active duty between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 20, 2021, is eligible for the extra 60 days of special leave, the new MARADMIN said.
“Marines and Commanders are encouraged to manage, request, and approve leave to provide respite from the work environment,” Maj. Jordan Cochran, a spokesman for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, said in a Monday email.
“The purpose of annual leave is to provide Marines respite from the work environment in ways that shall contribute to their improved performance and increased motivation,” Cochran added.
In late July the Navy, Air Force and Space Force all approved the same extended leave accrual plan.