The U.S. military on Wednesday introduced new rights for military parents, doubling vacation time for service members who have given birth, and offered time off to new parents who have not given birth, including adoptive and long-term caregivers.
Under the new policy, military personnel who have given birth will be given 12 weeks of parental leave, and parents who have not given birth will be given 12 weeks of parental leave. Previously, only the birth parent was allowed six weeks of leave for her.
The policy also provides 12 weeks of leave for those in adoption or long-term foster care. The Department of Defense said in a news release that the 12-week leave must be used in the child’s first year of life. Applied retroactively to military personnel.
“It is critical to the development of military families that members be able to care for newborns, adopted or placed children…Unit commanders should balance the needs of the unit with those of their members and provide parental leave. We need to maximize the opportunity to take advantage of,” Undersecretary of Defense Gilbert Cisneros said in a memo.
For birthing parents, the new policy states that the 12-week leave follows a convalescent period, which is approved by the health care provider and begins the first full day after the child’s birth.
The policy states that the 12 weeks of leave can be taken in lump sum or in stages, and regular leave can be taken “between increments of parental leave or in continuation with parental leave.” says. Also, a parent sent during a one-year leave period may be granted an extension if he/she is unable to take 12 weeks off in that first year, and may put the child up for adoption or have parental rights. Parents are not eligible to take parental leave if terminated by consent or court order.
Family planning is one of the most frustrating things about military life for military personnel. The Government Accountability Office said in her 2020 report that family planning was one of the six main reasons women cited when asked why they decided to leave the service. said.
A female Air Force officer told GAO specifically, “I felt it was necessary to ensure pregnancy at a certain time in my career in order to minimize the negative impact on my career,” adding that the number of flight hours was reduced. She said she often missed opportunities because of pregnancies, including lost ones. Or opportunities for professional military education.
In an attempt to address the concerns of uniformed parents, the Army announced a series of changes last April. It provides guidance for stabilizing permanent placements or changes in placement when soldiers undergo fertility treatment, and spouses experience miscarriages or stillbirths “for emotional recovery.”
“As an Army, we recruit soldiers, but we keep families,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said at the time. “Over the past decade, approximately 4,500 active duty enlisted men have separated on grounds of parentage. … Across the military, 45 percent of active duty married women are in double military marriages. reaffirms our commitment to supporting military families and their children from conception to parenthood.”