The U.S. Department of Defense is expanding its parental leave program for military personnel.

Specifically, the expansion will provide 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. It will also provide 12 weeks of parental leave to birth parents following a period of convalescent leave, to non-birth parents following the birth of their child and to adoptive parents and eligible foster parents.

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For employees who were on maternity convalescent leave or caregiver leave on Dec. 27, 2022 — before the new policy went into effect — and haven’t used up their leave will transition to the new leave allotment without any loss of benefit.  In other words, birth parents on maternity convalescent leave or caregiver leave as of Dec. 27 will, between the former policy and the new one, receive a total of 18 weeks of non-chargeable leave following the birth of their child. Other employees — other than birth parents — on caregiver leave as of Dec. 27 will receive a total of 12 weeks of parental leave.

The expansion of the parental leave policy, which takes effect for all eligible service members as of Jan. 4, takes precedence over previous policies issued by the Department of Defense.

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