U.S. Navy Rolls Out New Military Parental Leave Program

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A few months ago, you may remember hearing that the U.S. Navy was considering making a few changes to its parental leave policies. Well, changes have been made and the new policy is finally here. On the surface, the changes look like they’ll benefit new parents as they’ll have more flexibility with when and how they use their leave. The new program also streamlines the entire parental leave process, as it consolidates adoption, paternity and maternity leave under one umbrella. Unfortunately, not all of the rumored changes came to fruition, but overall, we think Sailors will like the new program.

What’s New?

The new leave program — Military Parental Leave Program — was released on June 21, 2018, and now aligns the Navy with recent Department of Defense guidelines for parental leave. The new program applies to all active duty Sailors, as well as any reserve Sailors who were performing active duties and became parents on or after December 23, 2016.

The Military Parental Leave Program recognizes three main types of family leave:

  • Maternity Convalescent Leave: 42 days of non-chargeable leave for the Sailor who gives birth.
  • Primary Caregiver Leave: 42 days of non-chargeable leave for the parent designated with primary responsibility for the child or children after a birth or adoption.
  • Secondary Caregiver Leave: 14 days of non-chargeable leave for the parent NOT designated with primary care responsibility after the birth or adoption of a child.

With these three categories of leave, Sailors are now able to decide which parent receives primary caregiver leave, and which one receives secondary caregiver leave. For a full breakdown of the leave periods, check out NAVADMIN 151/18.

Other military branches, including the Army, Air Force, and Marines, have also made changes to their parental leave policies since 2016. The Marines’ policy is similar to the Navy’s, while the Army offers primary caregivers more time but secondary caregivers less when compared to the Navy’s new policy.


What do you think about the new policy changes? Is the Navy doing enough to help out new parents or would you have liked to see them a lot more parental leave to Sailors? Let us know! And feel free to share any ideas of your own on how our Military can further help out new parents.


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