ARLINGTON, Virginia –
The Department of the Air Force announced the expansion of the Military Parental Leave Program for Airmen and Guardians via guidance memorandum, which mirrors the Department of Defense’s Directive-type Memorandum 23-001 – “Expansion of the Military Parental Leave Program.”
Effective Dec. 27, 2022, the updated policy authorizes birth parents 12 weeks of parental leave following a provider-recommended period of convalescent leave and non-birth parents 12 weeks of leave following the birth of their child. The policy also grants adoptive parents and eligible foster parents 12 weeks of parental leave.
Previously, birth parents received six weeks of parental leave following their convalescent leave, and non-birth parents received 21 days.
The expansion is in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. It also builds on the DoD’s support of military families and service members by streamlining and enhancing the parental leave benefit for active and reserve component service members (on active duty for 12 months or more) who give birth, adopt a child or provide long-term foster care.
Members who were on maternity convalescent leave or caregiver leave on Dec. 27, 2022, before the new policy went into effect, will also receive the expanded benefit.
Both the birth and non-birth parents can take the leave administered in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined in the DAFGM. The expansion of the MPLP, which applies to all eligible service members as of Dec. 27, 2022, takes precedence over previous DoD issuances and service regulations.
The DAFGM is located here.
Additional FAQs are located here.
EXAMPLE 1. A service member adopted a child on Dec. 27, 2022. This member is eligible to take up to 12 weeks of non-chargeable leave in accordance with DAFGM2023-01 para 126.96.36.199.2.
EXAMPLE 2. A service member designated as the primary caregiver is granted 6 weeks of maternity convalescent leave following the birth of a child and uses only 3 of the 6 weeks as of Dec. 27, 2022. Since the member will have unused caregiver leave as of Dec. 27, 2022, they would be eligible to transition to the expanded parental leave policy and take up to 12 weeks of non-chargeable leave after convalescent leave ends in accordance with DAFGM2023-01 para 188.8.131.52.2.
EXAMPLE 3. An Airman adopted a child on Nov. 25, 2022, then started secondary caregiver leave on Dec. 15, 2022. Since the Airman took leave in a consecutive increment from Dec. 15, 2022, to Dec. 26, 2022 (12 days), the remaining caregiver leave days automatically converted to 72 days on Dec. 27, 22 (84 days – 12 =72 days) and can be taken in multiple increments of 7 days or more. The member must take the remaining 72 days by Nov. 24, 2023, or forfeit the leave.
EXAMPLE 4. A service member designated as a secondary caregiver uses 2 of the 3 weeks of caregiver leave as of Dec. 27, 2022. With the service member having unused caregiver leave as of Dec 27, 2022, they would be eligible to transition to the expanded parental leave policy and take up to 10 weeks of non-chargeable leave, as they previously took 2 weeks.
EXAMPLE 5. A service member designated as the primary caregiver uses 5 of the 6 weeks of caregiver leave as of Dec. 27, 2022. Since the service member has unused caregiver leave as of Dec. 27, 2022, they would be able to take 7 weeks of parental leave, for 5 weeks were previously taken.
EXAMPLE 6. A service member did not take all of the authorized caregiver leave in one increment. The remaining caregiver leave would not convert to the MPLP because any leave taken under the previous caregiver leave policy could only be taken at one time and was forfeited when the leave period ended; multiple leave events were not authorized.
EXAMPLE 7. A Guardian had a child Jan. 15, 2022, but did not take secondary caregiver leave yet. The 3 weeks of caregiver leave converts to 12 weeks of parental leave on Dec. 27, 2022. however, under MPLP, members must take parental leave within one year. All unused leave not taken by Jan. 14, 2023, is forfeited.
EXAMPLE 8. A service member fostered a child on Dec. 1, 2022. Service members who foster a child prior to Dec. 27, 2022, do not qualify for the expanded parental leave policy because foster care was not eligible for the MPLP under the previous caregiver leave policy.