Expanded Military Parental Leave Program: The Department of Defense (DoD) released a memorandum on January 4, 2023, which states that the military personnel’s paternal leave has been increased.
The members will now receive parental leave for 12 weeks. This amount of leave is double what was offered previously.
When it comes to the parents giving birth, she benefits from receiving a “period of convalescence” when the doctor recommends it in writing.
This leave will be given in order to recover from the labor or if she has been diagnosed with other medical conditions.
However, the leave will only be approved if the patient receives a written recommendation from the doctor and is approved by the unit commander.
Various other terms and conditions are also stated in the memorandum. In this article, we will discuss the Expanded Military Paternal Leave Program and the members who can qualify for the program. Read on to learn more!
What is in the DoD Military Family Leave Policy?
Listed are the rules mentioned in the Military Parental Leave Program:
Extension of the Program:
- If a Reserve Component member is in an active service period, the MPLP leave will not be authorized.
- When a medical authority determines the medical necessity, the military service member’s period of active service will be extended after birth.
Date the leave will be effective:
A military service member will receive parental leave when the event occurs on or after 275h December 2022. It allows if the member has given birth to a child, adopted a minor child, or placed the child for adoption or foster care to the member.
Leave For Birth:
As mentioned in the earlier point, the parents will be allowed to take leave after the child’s birth, if the parents adopt a child or place a child for adoption or foster care with the member.
The birth parent will receive parental leave for 84 days or 12 weeks along with a period of convalescence for the child’s birth.
The convalescent leave will be authorized to recover from labor if the medical authority specifically recommends it due to diagnosed medical condition.
This benefit will be received if the doctor recommends it in writing and is approved by the unit commander. Convalescent leave will be received on the child’s birth day or when the member is released from the hospital.
The 12 weeks of leave will be applicable during the period of 1 year after the child is born.
The non-birth parent will also receive 12 weeks of paternal leave during the one-year period of the child’s birth.
The non-birth parent’s percentage of the child must be found out if the child is born outside marriage. This percentage should be determined based on the criteria present in the Military Department concerned.
Leave for Parents for Adoption Placement of Adoption:
The military couple will receive 12 weeks of leave during one year of the child adoption or child adoption placement.
If a couple wishes to use a surrogate for their child and become the legal parents after the child’s birth, the members will receive a leave of 12 weeks as it will be considered adoption.
However, the parents are not entitled to any parental leave if the child has already been living with the parents.
Parental Leave for Long-term Foster Care Placement:
The military service members will receive parental leave for 12 weeks within the first year.
The parents will not receive parental leave in case the mentioned cases:
- If the child is converted to a placement for adoption with the member.
- If the child for adoption has already been living with the members of their household.
If multiple events do not occur during the 72 hours:
If several events for the leave do not occur during the period of the same 72 hours, the events will be treated as separate events to allow the parents the leave. For instance, the mother has two events when they can avail of the benefit separated by 50 days.
When the child is born, and then places the child for adoption 50 days later, therefore, if the birth parent’s child is born on February 1, and the parent is released on February 5 from the hospital will have begun her convalescence leave that will end on March 4.
After the convalescent leave ends, the parent will be given leave for a period of 12 weeks (84 days). Then, on March 20, the birth parent adopts the minor.
In this instance, the parents only availed 15 days of leave and had 69 days of leave even if the two events had occurred.
The parents will receive an extra 15 days for the placement of the child. It will be added to the 69 days that have remained from the child’s birth.
If the parents do not use the leave within one year of the second event, the leaves will be forfeited.
Multiple Events Occurring Within The Same 72 hour:
If several events occur within 72 hours, the period will be considered a single event to receive the parental leave.
For instance, if the military service members adopt two children within 48 hours, the parents will be allowed 12 weeks of leave since the two adoptions will be considered a single adoption.
However, if the parents do not use the leaves within one year, they will be forfeited.
Separate Qualifying Events
In separate qualifying events, the new leave should run simultaneously with the previous leave that has not run out or been used on the new occasion date.
For instance, if a military service member adopts a child on April 1 and the child is placed for long-term foster care on October 1, the parents will receive additional 12 weeks of leave for the latter case since they have used the leave from the adoption before the placement event in October.
Remember that the placement will be forfeited if the parents have not used the leave within a year.
Taking Parental Leave:
Parents are allowed to take leave in one period or the form of increments. It can also be taken simultaneously with ordinary leave.
- Incremental Period: Parents can take leave in increments. Some requirements should be fulfilled to take the leave.
- If parents are willing to take leave in more than one increment, they should submit a request seven days earlier for a maximum of 12 increments and request within the time put forward by normal Service procedures. If the unit commander disapproves of their request, they can also appeal the decision through the normal Service procedure.
- Commanders are requested to approve the incremental leave request. If they do not agree, the commander should allow the member to take 12 weeks of full parental leave.
Combining Types of Leave:
Military service members can take chargeable or ordinary leaves between parental leave increments. For such leaves, they require no particular order.
Deferral of Parental Leave:
Operationally deployed members should postpone their parental leave till they have completed their deployment. However, they will be allowed to leave in exceptional or compelling circumstances.
For members who would have to postpone their leave, their leave is extended even after one year.
Unused Parental Leave:
- The remaining leaves of parental leave, if left unused, will be lost. However, this forfeiture is not applicable to the members qualifying for Reserve Component maternity.
- The parental leave cannot be transferred to benefit the members in case both the parents are military couples.
- If the parents do not take the leaves for the adoption, placement for adoption, long-term foster care, or the birth of a child within one year, the leaves will be lost.
- The leaves the Reserve Component members do not authorize will be forfeited.
The Reserve Component member’s service period may not be solely extended to take advantage of the parental leave.
The Reserve Component members will not be given to use any category of leave.
- If the parents are terminated from adopting or taking long-term foster care of a child, the unused leaves will be forfeited. This forfeiture will not be applicable if the adoption or long-term foster care is established as an adoption.
Extension of the one-year parental leave period:
A military service member can take advantage of the parental leave even after a period of one year is over due to the following conditions when:
- A member participates in a military exercise or a deployment for 90 or more days within one year.
- A member attends an in-residence military education course for 90 or more days within one year.
- A member permanently changes-of-station with temporary duty to a new duty station for 90 or more days within one year.
- A member has performed temporary duty elsewhere from the permanent duty station for 90 or more days.
- A member was in an in-patient status or hospitalized for more than 90 days within a year.
- The application authorities, such as a Secretary of a Military Department or Commandant of the Coast Guard, will approve other circumstances individually exceeding 90 days or more within a year.
Non-Chargeable Leave For Surrogacy or Child Placed For Adoption:
- Military service members who have placed their child for adoption or if their rights have been discontinued cannot claim parental leave. However, the members can take convalescent leave if the medical authority recommends it.
- The members whose spouse is eligible for the above leave are entitled to take parental leave.
Leave Following A Stillbirth or Miscarriage:
If a military service member is in this situation, they may be allowed convalescent leave. But neither the member nor the spouse might be allowed for parental leave. However, they may avail of emergency leave.
Leave Following the Death of A Child:
The parental leave will be terminated upon a child’s death or placed for adoption or long-term foster care. However, the members may be authorized for convalescent leave if recommended by the medical authority or in the form of emergency leave appropriate for the circumstance.
Who Qualifies for the Expanded Military Parental Leave Program?
The Expanded Military Parental Leave Program can be claimed to all military branch members. Listed are the requirements for the Military Paternity Leave Program:
- The leave is granted to all the members of military branches along with the Coast Guard, other organizational Department of Defence, members of the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, DoD Field Activities, the Defence Agencies, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Combatant Commands;
- The members should have been on reserved or active duty for a minimum of one year.
- Both parents are eligible for the leave. Parents who have recently adopted a child or birthed using a surrogate during pregnancy.
- Members who have adopted children and brought them at home but have not taken any additional leave after adopting the child might receive the Military Paternal Leave Program.
- However, military service members who have already adopted a child that has been living with them will not qualify for the Military Paternal Leave Program.
How Can the Benefit Be Applied?
The parents can take 84 days or 12 weeks of leave at one time. They are also entitled to break the leave into increments.
If the qualifying members experience several qualifying events during the ongoing leave, they will receive the additional leave. However, there must be a gap of 72 hours between the qualifying events.
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When Are Service Members Eligible For Military Parental Leave Program?
The service members are eligible for Expanded Military Parental Leave Program as of Dec.27, 2022. The leave must be availed within the first year of the birth or adoption. In cases where the parents are deployed, they will have an extended leave.
When Did The Military Paternal Leave Program Come Into Effect?
The Expanded Military Paternal Leave Program was enacted on January 4, 2023.
When Will The Memorandum Expire?
The memorandum will expire on January 4, 2025. However, the policy might be reissued after expiration.
The Military Paternal Leave Program was revised, and the leave for military service members has been increased to 121 weeks. The leave must be claimed within the first year of the child-birth. There are also various circumstances where some changes might occur for the members receiving the leave benefit.
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