If you were lucky enough to get leave outside of your duty station area this holiday season, you will likely have to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning, before heading back to work.
But contrary to what your chain of command or Grinch of a chief might have told you, that two-week restriction of movement, or ROM, can’t be charged to your personal leave.
A message sent to the fleet last month by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday codified the policy after some uncertainty about post-leave ROMs.
“Personnel executing a Restriction of Movement (ROM) are considered to be in a duty status and ROM periods will not be counted as annual leave,” the CNO’s message states.
Navy Times has recently been contacted by sailors who said their commands warned they would have to use their own time off for the post-leave ROM, and a Navy release announcing CNO’s reflects the uncertainty.
After a year of no physical fitness assessments because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navy has said fitness tests will start up again in March 2021.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Fleet has shown some confusion regarding placing Sailors in a Restriction of Movement status and how that affects leave,” the release states.
Command pay and personnel administrators were sent a bulletin last month explaining that “ROM due to COVID-19 is a mandatory, official duty function performed by Sailors with their ROM locations considered as the official duty location.”
“Sailors taking leave outside their designated permanent duty station area and directed to perform ROM upon their return from leave should not be charged leave for the ROM period,” the release notes.
Still, a unit’s commander is required to conduct a risk assessment for each sailor requesting leave or liberty this holiday season, in the name of force health protection and manning requirements, according to the release.