New Army parents just got more snuggle time with their newborns

Elizabeth Howe
January 29, 2019 - 10:43 am

Photo courtesy of Sgt. Anthony Hewitt

The Army just updated its policy on leave for new parents so that fathers get twice the amount of leave than they did previously and postpartum mothers are no longer assumed to be primary caregivers. 

The new policy is only new in the Army — the other branches of the military adopted these measures back in June. But the new policy can be applied retroactively back to Dec. 23, 2016.

Previously, the Army provided 12 weeks of maternity leave and 10 days of paternity leave.

Major changes that came with the new Army Military Parental Leave Program include the separation of "maternity leave" into two categories: "maternity convalescent leave" and "primary caregiver leave." This allows flexibility for situations where the postpartum mother is not the primary caregiver (for example, death or illness of the birth mother).

Maternity convalescent leave gives soldiers six weeks of leave immediately after discharge from the hospital. But the additional six weeks of primary caregiver leave does not need to be used consecutively and can also be used in the case of adoption. A soldier cannot, however, be designated as both a primary and secondary caregiver.

Additionally, what was previously "paternity leave" is now referred to as "secondary caregiver" leave — and it allows for 21 days of leave.

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