As with any full-time laborer, military service members earn annual paid time off, which the military calls “leave.” However, the types of leave and their availability to service members are multifaceted and sometimes challenging to comprehend. For instance, wounded personnel would likely not use emergency leave while rehabilitating at Walter Reed Hospital though might in other situations. Families and service members can benefit from understanding the primary leave types—emergency, parental, and convalescent—as it allows everyone to share an understanding of standard scheduling guidelines.

While you can learn the different types of leave to navigate military life, you may need help if you or your family require plane tickets to connect with a military loved one. Contact Luke’s Wings for trustworthy assistance in such scenarios. Our dedicated military charity provides free emergency travel planning and airline tickets so loved ones of qualifying wounded, ill, or injured service members can reunite with them. For information on how Luke’s Wings can help you, call (800) 609-9920.

Below, we define military leave and discuss the various kinds available to service members: 

How Does Military Leave Work? 

Again, “leave” refers to paid time off in the military. It includes any days service members cannot work due to illness or injury—they must seek approval for leave through their chain of command (this process is unnecessary for federal holidays, as service members do not report to their duty stations or place of employment by law). The command team may reject a request for leave if it conflicts with training, deployment, or schooling requirements. 

The military benefits package allows all service members to accrue 30 days of leave per calendar year, and some individuals may carry 60+ days into the following fiscal year. Every month, active duty military personnel can expect to receive 2.5 days. Special leave accrual occurs when a service member is deployed or training in a restrictive environment.

Emergency Leave

Service members may use emergency leave if they suffer from an unexpected situation that prevents them from working, including family emergencies, medical complications, or a loved one’s death. All such instances require service members to notify their chain of command, but requests are often quickly approved and counted against their leave balance.

Emergency travel tends to be expensive and requires arduous planning for service members. Yet Luke’s Wings provides comprehensive travel support and resources for service people and their families. For example, we help transport families to military hospitals if their loved one has suffered an injury in combat or training.

Expanded Parental Leave

Walter Reed Hospital Luke's Wings

Following the birth of a child, many military personnel need time away from work to focus on caring for their newborn. Expanded parental leave is a non-chargeable leave 

that applies to the mother and their legal partner at the start of a qualifying event like childbirth. 

Service members can receive 12 weeks of parental leave and request additional time for physical recovery after giving birth. Other qualifying events for expanded parental leave include adoption or long-term foster care of a minor.

Convalescent Leave

After an illness or injury, service members can request extra time to ensure recovery. They must seek approval from a doctor and their chain of command to do so, but this type of leave does not count against a leave balance since the military wants its personnel to return to work in good health. That said, the requested convalescent leave must be under 30 days. 

Luke’s Wings Provides Military Travel Services to Walter Reed Hospital and Elsewhere

In instances where a service member must take leave, military families may need to travel somewhere on short notice. Luke’s Wings can help you ensure a stress-free travel experience through complimentary airfare. We offer emergency armed forces travel planning and plane tickets to military families so they can spend time with their military loved ones. Learn more about how you can give and receive through Luke’s Wings at (800) 609-9920.