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Immediate Release

DOD Expands Military Parental Leave Program

Today, the Department of Defense announced the expansion of the Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) via Directive-type Memorandum 23-001 – “Expansion of the Military Parental Leave Program.” 

The expansion was made in accordance with DTM 23-001 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, builds on the Department’s support of military families and Service members by streamlining and enhancing the parental leave benefit for Service members.  Specifically, the expansion provides parental leave to active and reserve component service members (on active duty for 12 months or more) who have given birth, adopted a child or had a child placed for adoption or long-term foster care with them. Birth parents will be granted 12 weeks of parental leave following a period of convalescent leave and non-birth parents will be granted 12 weeks of leave following the birth of their child. Adoptive parents and eligible foster parents will also be granted 12 weeks of parental leave. The MPLP is designed to allow members to care for their children while balancing the needs of their unit.  

Members who were on maternity convalescent leave or caregiver leave on 27 December (before the new policy went into effect) and had not used up their leave will transition to leave under the new policy without any loss of benefit and will receive the expanded benefit.  For example, birth parents on six weeks of maternity convalescent leave or six weeks of primary caregiver leave as of 27 December will, with transition to the new policy, receive a combined total of eighteen weeks of non-chargeable leave following the birth of their child. In the future, under the new policy, the amount of convalescent leave birth parents receive will be determined on an individual basis, and the amount of parental leave will be a standard 12 weeks.  Members (other than birth parents), on caregiver leave, e.g., a father on three weeks of secondary caregiver leave, as of 27 December, will also transition to leave under the new policy and receive a combined total of twelve weeks of parental leave.  The transition to the expanded parental leave benefit is intended to occur without interruption.* (See Editor’s Note)

The leave can be taken by both birth and non-birth parents and must be administered in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined in the DTM. The expansion of the MPLP, which applies to all eligible service members as of January 4, 2023, takes precedence over previous DoD issuances and service regulations.

The full memorandum can be found here.

* Editor’s Note: This paragraph has been corrected to provide clarity.