Paycheck Chronicles

From The Mailbag: Leave and Earnings Statements


Ah, the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). It's a document that provides a lot of answers, but it also can generate a lot of questions. Here are a few LES questions I've heard over the last couple of months.

When do "use or lose" days get dropped?

Leave that exceeds the current carryover rules is lost at the end of the fiscal year.  The fiscal year runs 1 October to 30 September.  Excess leave not used by 30 September is removed from the leave balance.

What is the $.50 deduction on my LES for AFRH?

AFRH stands for Armed Forces Retirement Home. The Armed Forces Retirement Homes serve 1,600 retired service members in two locations, and are funded in part by contributions from military pay.

Why Is Mid-Month Pay Considered A Deduction?

Great question! Military pay, allowances, deductions and allotments are calculated on a monthly basis. Historically, the military was paid once a month. (Some people still choose the once a month pay option.)  As such, the mid-month pay is like an advance of half of your estimated full month's pay.  If you think of it like a loan, you can understand why it shows up as a deduction.  It also explains why sometimes there are such discrepancies between mid-month and end-of-month pay...the mid-month estimate doesn't account for changes made after the 7th or 8th of the month.

How Can I Get An Old LES?

Currently serving military members can access the last 13 LES through the online myPay system.  The process for separated service members and those requesting older LES differs between the service branches.  The directions for each group can be found at this DFAS webpage.

What Do The Abbreviations Stand For?

There are a lot of different words, codes, acronyms and abbreviations used on LES. You can find almost everything in these articles:

Understanding LES Entitlements: Pays and Allowances

Understanding LES Deductions

Allotments On Your LES

Your LES is an important tool, but it doesn't work very well if you don't understand what it says!  Let me know if you have other LES questions, and I'll find the answers.


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