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Army updates guidance for expanded parental leave

Spc. Dallas Ochoa, assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, reunites with his daughter, Kaylynn, Nov. 13, 2018. Photo credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Micah Merrill

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WASHINGTON - In an effort to support parents and caregivers, the Army has refined its parental leave guidance to align with the recent Department of Defense expanded Military Parental Leave Program.

The update authorizes 12 weeks of paid paternal leave for birth parents, non-birth parents and soldiers adopting a child or accepting a child for long-term foster care.


Coverage is retroactive to Dec. 27, 2022

  • Soldiers who gave birth to a child, adopted a child or began fostering a child, and who have not used parental leave within the last year (Dec. 27, 2021, to Dec. 27, 2022), are authorized 12 weeks of leave, if such leave ends no later than one year after the qualifying event. Soldiers who completed their parental leave benefits according to the prior policy are not authorized the additional days.
  • Active-duty as well as reserve component and National Guard soldiers on active-duty orders for 12 months or longer are covered.
  • Soldiers have one year from the date of a qualifying event to use parental leave, unless granted an extension.
  • For the birth parent, parental leave is authorized after the convalescent leave is over.
  • Non-married birth parents must establish parentage by following the criteria prescribed in Army Regulation 608-99 (Family Support, Child Custody, and Parentage).

Expanded policy offers greater flexibility for soldiers and their families

  • Soldiers may delay using leave to attend military education or if they deploy immediately following a qualifying event.
  • Soldiers may take regular leave between increments of parental leave or consecutively with parental leave.
  • Soldiers required to defer parental leave may be authorized an extension on the one-year time limit if they are: deployed 90 days or more, attending an in-residence professional military education course for 90 days or more, on temporary duty for 90 days or more, hospitalized or in in-patient status for 90 days or more, or for extenuating circumstances.
  • Soldiers may take parental leave in increments. Soldiers who take parental leave in more than one increment must request leave in blocks of at least seven days and must submit requests within the timelines established by unit commanders.

Process is consistent with regular leave requests

  • As with other leave, commanders will work with soldiers to schedule appropriately timed parental leave.
  •  The soldier's commander or designated authority is the approving authority. Only the first general officer in a soldier's chain of command may disapprove a request for parental leave.
  • The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army is updated to facilitate the expanded parental leave requests.
  • There are two ways that soldiers can request leave - through the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army, and through Department of the Army Form 31.

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