It’s a little known fact that active-duty members of the United States military or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can sell back their acquired leave days. If you don’t plan on using your leave days — or if you simply have more than what you need — selling them back could prove beneficial. To learn more about selling leave days and how to do it, keep reading.
As an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces, you’ll earn 30 days of paid vacation (known as leave) for every year you serve. If you serve for three years, for instance, you’ll earn 90 days of leave. This can essentially be redeemed for three months of paid vacation. It’s important to note, however, that up to 60 days can be accrued over a two year period. If you serve for less than two years, you’ll earn 2.5 days of leave for every month of service. The balance is checked on the first day of the fiscal year, with any remaining leave over 60 days being forfeited.
Now, if you have leave remaining on your account when discharged or when you re-enlist, you may be able to sell it back. The value of leave days is 1/30 of what you would earn. So, selling one day of leave would essentially give you 1/30th of an extra day’s worth of cash — a portion of the amount of cash that you would have earned while serving for a day.
Service members are restricted, however, to selling no more than 60 days worth of leave. If you have 90 days of leave, for instance, you can only sell 60 days worth of that leave back to the military. This is why many soldiers only take a part of their leave, selling the remainder back to the military. Furthermore, you cannot sell leave if you are discharged for accepting commission or warrant in uniformed service.
There are other things to consider when selling back leave days. For starters, you can only sell back leave days when you reenlist, extend an enlistment, or when you are discharged. It’s also worth noting that taxes are withheld from your final payment, with the federal government taking 25% and your respective state taking another piece (varies depending on state).
Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of when and how to sell back your leave days. If you don’t plan on using them, selling leave days is a great way to put some extra cash in your pocket.