Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP)

Regular Army: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

Summary

The Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) provides non-chargeable leave entitlements following the birth or adoption of a Child. The policy applies to covered Soldiers who are birth Mothers or Fathers, same-sex couples, as well as adoptive and surrogate parents.

On April 19, 2022, the Army released Army Directive 2022-06 (Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum). The directive contains 12 components. Six are entirely new and the other six are updates to existing policies.

This directive will apply to:

  • Regular Army (RA)

  • Army National Guard (ARNG)

  • Army National Guard of the United States (ARNGUS)

  • U.S. Army Reserve (USAR)

Below are the 12 components that are included in the Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Directive as well as some of the changes.

  • Postpartum Body Composition Exemption (existing but modified; required by NDAA FY20)

    • The body composition exemption is increased from 180 days to 365 days after the conclusion of pregnancy. 

  • Physical Fitness Testing Exemption (existing but modified; required by NDAA FY22)

    • Soldiers will be exempt from taking a record physical fitness test while pregnant and for a year after pregnancy. 

  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Service Uniform Exemption; (existing but modified)

    • There will be exemptions for pregnancy and postpartum.

    • Child Development Program facilities may be designated as “No-Hat, No-Salute” areas.

  • Operational and Training Deferments (existing but modified; required by NDAA FY21)

    • They want to ensure that at least one parent is home with their Child so all birth parents (Soldiers who physically give birth) are deferred or excused for 365 days after the birth of their Child from deployments, mobilizations, field training, and other types of military assignments. 

  • Professional Military Education (PME) (NEW)

    • A pregnancy profile will not disqualify a Soldier from being selected as an honor graduate or commandant list selectee. 

  • Location Accommodations (existing but modified)

    • Commands will need to provide lactation breaks and designated location areas for lactating Soldiers. 

  • Fertility Treatments (NEW)

    • Soldiers will be stabilized from a PCS or a deployment for up to 365 days from their first appointment while receiving fertility treatments. 

  • Pregnancy Loss (NEW)

    • Convalescent leave after a birth event, miscarriage, or stillbirth. This will apply to the Soldier or the Spouse of a Soldier.

  • Family Care Plans (FCPs) (existing but modified)

    • Soldiers will be given at least three weeks’ notice for duty requirements outside of the normal duty hours as well as for significant changes to the Soldier’s normal duty hours.

  • Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS) (NEW)

    • Pregnant Soldiers will be eligible to apply and compete for ADOS tours despite their medical readiness classification 3 status. 

  • Paid Parental Leave in the Reserve Component (NEW; required by NDAA FY21)

    • Birthparents will be granted 12 paid UTAs (Unit Training Assemblies) within a year after giving birth. They will also be allowed 4 UTAs that will be unpaid but could be rescheduled. 

  • Education of Leaders (NEW)

    • Pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting training will be incorporated throughout all pre-command courses. 

For more detailed information, refer to Army Directive 2022-06 (Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum).

Eligibility

Active component Service member, or a Reserve component Service member performing active Guard and Reserve duty or Full-time National Guard Duty (FTNGD) for a period in excess of 12 months, and Reserve component Service members performing duty under a call or order to active service in excess of 12 months are eligible for The Military Parental Leave Program.

Benefit Highlights

The Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) consists of the following forms of non-chargeable leave following a qualifying birth event or adoption for baby hand holding an adult thumb covered Service members: Maternity Convalescent Leave, Primary Caregiver Leave, and Secondary Caregiver Leave. Only one primary and one secondary caregiver may be authorized for each qualifying birth event or adoption. The primary caregiver is the parent with the primary responsibility for caring for a Child. Designations for caregiver status should be made as early as possible and follow Department of Defense guidance.

Maternity Convalescent Leave:

  • Is limited to a covered Service member birthparent or after a birth qualifying event. When a baby is stillborn or the covered member suffers a miscarriage, convalescent leave, other than maternity convalescent leave, may be granted pursuant to reference 1c.

  • Is limited to 6 weeks of non-chargeable leave, unless additional Maternity Convalescent Leave is specifically recommended, in writing, by the medical provider of the covered member to address a diagnosed medical condition and is approved by the member's commander. A covered birthparent may, with the agreement of a medical provider, choose to receive a period of maternity convalescent leave that is less than 6 weeks.

  • Must be taken immediately after childbirth, except that the leave will not begin until the first full day after the date a covered Service member is discharged or released from the hospital (or similar facility) where the birth took place.

  • May be taken consecutively with either primary or secondary caregiver leave, but must be taken before any caregiver leave (for a maximum of 12 weeks in conjunction with primary caregiver leave or 9 weeks in conjunction with secondary caregiver leave). If additional maternity convalescent leave is authorized and approved pursuant, the full period of the extended maternity convalescent leave will be taken before any caregiver leave, and the amount of caregiver leave will be reduced 1 day for each day of additional maternity convalescent leave taken (that is, any maternity convalescent leave in excess of 6weeks).  Primary or secondary caregiver leave must be started within one year (or 18 months with respect to the MPLP retroactive period) of a qualifying birth event or adoption.

  • Must be taken in only one increment

  • May be taken consecutively with approved chargeable (ordinary) leave. If taken in conjunction with ordinary leave, maternity convalescent leave may exceed the maximum limits if the commander approves. If taken with caregiver and ordinary leave, the Service member must take the leave in this order: maternity convalescent leave, caregiver (primary or secondary) leave, ordinary leave.

  • May not be disapproved by a commander

  • May not be transferred to create any kind of shared benefit.

  • Will be forfeited if unused at separation from active service.

Primary Caregiver Leave: Service member must be designated as, “primary caregiver” in conjunction with qualifying birth event(s) or adoption(s). The following conditions apply:

  • Is limited to covered Soldiers who meet the definition of, and are designated as, primary caregivers in conjunction with qualifying birth events or adoption.

  • Is limited to 6 weeks of non-chargeable leave and must be taken within one year (or 18 months with respect to the MPLP retroactive period) of a qualifying birth event or adoption. A designated primary caregiver may choose to receive a period of primary caregiver leave that is less than 6 weeks.

  • May be taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave and/or approved ordinary leave. It may not be taken consecutively with chargeable terminal leave and/or administrative absence for transition.

  • Must be taken in only one increment

  • May not be authorized in cases of a qualifying birth event where the Child is given up for adoption or parental rights are terminated or suspended

  • Eligibility, or the leave itself if started, terminates upon the death of the Child. However, in such cases, covered members may be transitioned to an emergency leave (chargeable) status in accordance with DoDI 1327.06.

  • Will be forfeited if any portion remains unused at separation from active service

  • May not be transferred to create any kind of shared benefit.

Secondary Caregiver Leave: Service members who are designated as, “secondary caregivers” in conjunction with qualifying birth event(s) or adoption(s). The following conditions apply:

  • Is limited to covered Soldiers who meet the definition of, and are designated as, secondary caregivers in conjunction with qualifying birth events or adoptions

  • Is limited to 21 days of non-chargeable leave and must be taken within one year (or 18 months with respect to the MPLP retroactive period) of a qualifying birth event or adoption. A designated secondary caregiver may choose to receive a period of secondary caregiver leave that is less than 21 day.

  • May be taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave and/or approved ordinary leave. It may not be taken consecutively with chargeable terminal leave and/or administrative absence for transition. If not taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave, it must be taken within one year (or 18 months with respect to the MPLP retroactive period) of a qualifying birth event or adoption.

  • Must be taken in only one increment

  • May not be authorized in cases of a qualifying birth event where the Child is given up for adoption, and/or parental rights are terminated or surrendered

  • Eligibility, or the leave itself if started, terminates upon the death of the child. However, in those cases, covered members may be transitioned to an emergency leave (chargeable) status accordance with DoDI 1327.06.

  • Will be forfeited if any portion remains unused at separation from active service

  • May not be transferred to create any kind of shared benefit.

Other Considerations

Child born outside of a marriage: In the case of a Child born outside of a marriage, the member's parentage of the Child(ren) must be established in pursuant to criteria prescribed by the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) within 30 days of the birth or will forfeit eligibility. A birthparent is not required to establish proof of parentage.

Primary and Secondary Caregiver Leave as it relates to Surrogacy: Soldiers are not authorized to act as surrogates. In coordination with the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 will develop and promulgate any additional administrative procedures necessary to implement surrogacy, including appropriate internal controls applicable to commanders, in accordance with AR 11-2.

  • A covered Soldier whose Spouse serves as a surrogate and gives birth is not entitled to Primary or Secondary Caregiver Leave.

  • When a covered Soldier (or a covered dual military couple) uses a surrogate and the member (or couple) becomes the legal parent(s) or guardian(s) of the Child, the event will be treated as an adoption. The Soldier(s) will be entitled to either primary or secondary caregiver leave in accordance with this guidance.

Additional Information
Document Review Date: 07 January 2022