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My Coast Guard
Commentary | June 11, 2024

Five years of the Parental Leave Augmentation Program

By MSTC Rani Cauble

The Parental Leave Augmentation Program (PLP), managed and funded by the Surge Staffing Section, recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. As of April 2019, over 900 reservists have stepped up to support the PLP. The program began as a highly successful beta test, able to fill almost 100% of all requests coming in from 2019-2022. The program has seen its fair share of success and challenges with the 2023 update to parental leave policy expanding parental leave to 12 weeks for all active-duty servicemembers. The program has filled over twice the number of requests since the expansion, while also experiencing a rise in the number of volunteers applying to the positions. With that said, the rise of volunteers has not met the demand, resulting in our fill success dropping from 95% to a 67% since the release of the new leave policy in January of 2023. 

The Parental Leave Augmentation Program was born from the CG’s Women’s Retention RAND study, with a purpose of alleviating the guilt our female members experience from extended absences away while balancing the physical demands and desires to have a child. With the congressionally mandated policy change, and the current workforce shortages, the PLP has stepped in to support all active-duty parents taking parental leave to welcome a new child into their lives. This new direction has resulted in a different need in how PLP is staffed, funded, and managed. The Surge Staffing team running the PLP works inexhaustibly to ensure adaptability to the workforce need while managing resource constraints with the hopes of maintaining the established success and sustainability of the augmentation program. 

We ask reservists to support us by volunteering for the positions advertised so that we can continue to partner in creative ways to support our units and our members, active duty and reserve alike. We have seen an impressive assortment of qualifications and experience from our reservists’ civilian lives that can’t be beat. PLP volunteers have covered a total of over 76,302 days so far and have been able to successfully fill a vast array of positions from sectors, stations, recruiters, and to assignments seemingly more difficult to fill such as CMCs, academy instructors, rescue swimmers and pilots. We have augmented personnel in every district including OCONUS assignments such as Activities Europe, Vietnam, and unique assignments with the Navy. We are confident in the necessity of the program, and we continue to be the only service able to successfully augment our members’ parental leave, providing work-life balance with the ability to be home for this important family event. 

The workforce shortages across the Coast Guard have made this program more vital to Coast Guard families. The Parental Leave Augmentation Program needs to continue to thrive and adapt to overcome the service wide challenges to meet the needs of the members and their units. We invite units to visit our SharePoint site at PLP- Parental Leave Augmentation Program ( and utilize our RFF to request augmentation through email at when the unit has a gap they cannot manage during times of authorized parental leave. We are excited to see where the challenges take us, and initiate change that works best for our Coast Guard, our families, and our future sentinels. 


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