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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 5, 2023

Parental leave policy update for military members

By Martin Berman-Gorvine, MyCG Writer

Starting Dec. 27, the Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) has expanded to provide 12 weeks of parental leave for all new parents. Birth mothers continue to be eligible for convalescence leave in addition to the 12 weeks of parental leave if the birth mother’s health care provider recommends a given number of days for recovery. The extended policy was written into the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which gave all military branches until the end of 2022 to implement the changes. 

The expanded leave applies to members who are on parental leave on Dec. 27, 2022, or later. There is no "back dating." So for example, if a member had a baby on Dec. 20 and they still have a status of maternity convalescent or primary or secondary caregiver leave as of Dec. 27, they are eligible to add the additional parental leave. If a member had a baby on July 1, 2022, and has used all of their primary/secondary caregiver leave, they are not eligible for the additional time. But if a member had a baby on July 1, 2022, and only used part of their caregiver leave, they are eligible to add the additional time onto their unused leave.

The new policy supersedes the MPLP established March 23, 2018. Under that policy, primary caregivers received six weeks (42 days) of leave. Secondary caregivers received three weeks, or 21 days, of parental leave. The terms primary and secondary caregivers are not in the new policy. The Department of Defense (DoD) indicates the policy applies to both active duty members and reserve members who are on active duty orders greater than 12 months. This also applies to adoptive and long-term foster-care (24-month minimum placement) families as well. 

“It’s important for military families that members be able to care for their newborn, adopted, or placed child or children,” said Capt. Monique Roebuck of the Office of Military Policy (CG-133). “Unit commanders must balance the needs of the unit with the needs of the member to enjoy the full amount of parental leave they are entitled to.”

Members are encouraged to work with their commands regarding parental leave ensuring units maintain operationally readiness, while at the same time ensuring our members have the opportunity to take care of their family. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Military Personnel Policy.

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