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The Army has clarified its policy on leaves and passes and the rules for taking them consecutively.

An Army MILPER message, #08-004, sent out Dec. 23 did not establish policy, but was intended to clarify existing policy.

On Jan. 9, Stars and Stripes published a story that said a new leave policy meant that soldiers who combined leave with special holiday passes would now see the entire period charged to them as annual leave.

Whenever training holiday days are granted with a federal holiday to make a four-day weekend it is considered a special pass.

Prior to April 2005, a soldier could not take leave in conjunction with a pass. They had to work a duty day in between or take leave for the whole period.

A change to the DOD Instruction 1327.6, published in April 2005, made it permissible for a soldier to take leave then go on a special pass or vice versa without a duty day in between.

However, the soldier did have to be at his or her permanent duty station when the leave began and ended. In other words, the soldier could not be gone to another location for seven days by combining a three-day leave with a four-day pass, or it would be charged as seven days leave.

A soldier still may not string three such time-off periods together in succession without being charged the entire period as leave, noted Army spokesman Col. David Ellis.

Neither a pass-leave-pass nor leave-pass-leave arrangement is permitted. That’s always been the case, according to Ellis.

The special circumstances of last year’s holiday calendar brought the issue front and center; there was a four-day special pass weekend for Christmas, then three duty days (Dec. 26-28) followed by another four-day pass weekend for New Year’s.

If a soldier wants 10 days off, he has to work either the 26th or the 28th, and he’ll be charged two days leave.

If he wants all 11 days off, no matter where he is, he’s going to have to take 11 days leave.

Neither the original policy nor the clarification changed the rules for leave while away from the duty station, Ellis said. If a soldier will be away from his post longer than the period covered by a weekend (or special pass weekend if it happens to be one) then he or she must be on leave for that time.

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