On August 7, 2007, the Army released a message informing Soldiers about the new Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence, or PDMRA. PDMRA is a new category of leave similar to administrative leave in the civilian sector. It is a DOD program intended to compensate Soldiers with days of non-chargeable leave when required to mobilize or deploy with a frequency beyond established rotation policy goals. The program only applies to deployments and mobilizations underway on, or commencing after, 19 Jan 07. I want to take a few minutes and try to explain this very confusing policy.
First and foremost, Soldiers should recognize that there are no tax benefits like combat zone exclusions for taking this leave. This program does not replace or circumvent traditional leave accrual. Soldiers will earn both their standard 2.5 days per month as well as PDMRA, if qualified. I’ll break this up into Active and Reserve (National Guard) forces.
After 12 months deployment, eligible Soldiers earn ONE day of administrative absence. Those Soldiers with 18 months deployed begin to earn TWO days and those with 24 months will earn FOUR days. The deployments must occur within a 36 month period. Here’s how it works:
If you deployed for a 15 month tour AFTER the date above, you earn one day of PDMRA PER MONTH after the 12th month. Months 13, 14, and 15 each get one day for a total of three. If you deploy for 21 months, you earn two days of PDMRA PER MONTH after your 18th for a total of six days. Each month past 24 months earns four days per month. Now, this must occur within a 36 month window. If you deployed for 15 months and then didn’t deploy again for three years, your count begins back at zero for PDMRA. The only difference for the Reserve forces is that they have more time to accrue deployments. For those Soldiers, it is a 72 month window.
The deployments that are creditable under this program are to Afghanistan, Iraq or certain theater units and other areas as determined by the Secretary of the Army. For Reserve component Soldiers, creditable mobilizations are defined as mobilizations under Title 10 only and only include INVOLUNTARY mobilizations unless the duty is in conjunction with “deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.” It gets a bit confusing for Reserve components, but here is the actual policy:
…for the Reserve component Soldiers, creditable mobilizations are defined as mobilizations under Title 10, United States Code, sections 12301a, 12302, or 12304. These are involuntary mobilizations. Voluntary mobilizations under 12301(d) /CO-ADOS, Retiree Recall) do not qualify for PDMRA, unless the 12301(d) mobilization/duty is in conjunction with ―deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.‖ To qualify for PDMRA under a 12301(d) period of duty the Soldier must have documentation showing their Iraq/Afghanistan duty under Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE) on their LES showing the payment of Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger pay to verify the period of Boots on Ground (BOG) in Iraq or Afghanistan. More than 50% of the entire 12301(d) mobilization ―time‖ must occur BOG in Iraq or Afghanistan for a 12301(d) to qualify for any PDMRA. For example, one month of CZTE can be authorized/earned for one day in theater. Technically, a 12301(d) Soldier traveling to Iraq or Afghanistan one day per month for 6 months would earn 6 months CZTE and have an LES that indicates 6 months CZTE. However, that does not qualify the 12301(d) Soldier for any PDMRA since 50% of the mobilization ―time‖ was not preformed in theater.
For active component Soldiers, creditable deployment time commences on January 19, 2004, or the date that is 36 months prior to the Soldier‘s initial deployment, whichever date is most recent, and includes the day of the Soldier‘s arrival in theater through the date of departure from theater. For example: If the Soldier deployed October 10, 2007, creditable deployment time for the Soldier would include previous deployments back 36 months to October 10, 2004. A deployment on December 21, 2013, looks back 36 months for previous creditable deployment… December 21, 2010 in order to calculate the number of days of PDMRA earned. Make sense? It does to me, but if you’re CORNfused, that’s what the comments section is for. Ask away! The following image should explain it a little better. The red blocks account for deployment time. For qualified deployments, a number appears indicating how many days of PDMRA you have earned for that deployment.
Now for the REALLY confusing part – the Reserves and National Guard. For Reserve component Soldiers, creditable mobilization time commences on October 7, 2001, or the date that is 72 months prior to the Soldier‘s mobilization, whichever date is most recent, and includes the day the Soldier is initially mobilized through the date the mobilization is terminated; includes the effective date of the Soldier‘s mobilization orders through the date of the expiration of the mobilization order, to include periods of R&R and temporary duty (TDY) outside Iraq and Afghanistan for TDY periods of 30 days or less. For example: A deployment on December 21, 2013, looks back 72 months for previous creditable deployment(s)…December 21, 2007 in order to calculate the number of days of PDMRA earned. PDMRA accrual for RC Soldiers includes all qualifying mobilizations, not just to Iraq or Afghanistan. Only mobilizations under 12301(a), 12302, or 12304 qualify to accrue PDMRA. A 12301(d) period of duty also qualifies when it is documented that the 12301(d) period was in conjunction with a deployment in support of Contingency Operations in Iraq or Afghanistan; deployment time for this purpose includes the day of the Soldier‘s arrival on Title 10 at MOB station through his REFRAD date. PDMRA days do not continue to accrue while Soldier is on transition leave and/or extension of mobilization orders for the purpose of PDMRA usage. Here’s the reserve graphic explanation:
I think these images make a bit more sense than trying to explain it all. I could have saved a lot of energy just posting these at the beginning.
Now the question on probably every Soldiers’ mind is “how do I use it?” PDMRA can be used during any R&R leave period or in lieu of using chargeable annual leave at home station. However, you can’t add the PDMRA to R&R time. If you have 20 days of leave saved up and your R&R is only 14, you can’t extend that time period to use up your leave. You only get to use the 14 days. Soldiers may use PDMRA leave within 12 months of returning from deployment or during PCS travel. If you don’t use them within 12 months of returning from deployment, too bad, so sad. Leaders must make every effort to give their troops this time off within that timeframe. We owe it to them!
Soldiers who return from deployment due to an injury or are deemed to be “not fit for duty” will have one year to use their PDMRA from the day that they are determined to be “fit for duty.” This is good news for those Soldiers recovering from injuries sustained as a result of combat or their deployment, but stuck somewhere like Walter Reed for extended periods of time. Soldiers who are getting out of the Army can combine their ETS (terminal) leave with PDMRA.
PDMRA days do not continue to accrue for those Soldiers on transition leave and/or extension of mobilization orders for the purpose of PDMRA usage. It also doesn’t have a cash value like normal leave does. If it’s not used, it goes the way of GM dealerships and just disappears without a trace and no “cash out” option. For those Soldiers in the Reserve component with federal, state or local government civilian employment, you cannot by law receive civilian pay while using this leave. Since you are considered on active duty while taking this leave. However, there is a provision in the law that allows you to elect to receive Assignment Incentive Pay in lieu of PDMRA. For this purpose, the AIP would be valued at a rate of $200 for each day of administrative absence that otherwise would have been authorized/earned under the PDMRA program, but can’t exceed $3,000 per month. To request this, simply use the 4187 process (see your 1SG).
I hope this cleared up some of the confusion or lack of knowledge about this important way our nation shows its appreciation for what we’re doing. Our media likes to highlight all the down sides of these deployments while completely ignoring worthy programs like this, additional pay, and other benefits that Soldiers receive during and after deployments. We take care of our own and this is just another example of that.
If you have any further questions about the program, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section so that others can learn along with you. Also, please see your PAC or 1SG. However, since I’ve been contacted by a few First Sergeants myself, they may not have the answer. In those cases, provide them with this link to educate them. They’ll thank you for it!
For services other than the Army, this program SHOULD work the exact same way. It’s a DOD program, not an Army one. We are just better at getting the word out there!
Oh and I almost forgot, you can access a special calculator to help you figure out how much leave you may be due by clicking HERE.