Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP)
Benefit Fact Sheet
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 January 4, 2023, the Department of Defense released DTM 23-001 (Expansion of the Military Parental Leave Program).
The expansion provides 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. Birth parents will be granted 12 weeks of parental leave following a period of convalescent leave and non-birth parents will be granted 12 weeks of leave following the birth of their Child. Adoptive parents and eligible foster parents will also be granted 12 weeks of parental leave. The MPLP is designed to allow members to care for their Children while balancing the needs of their unit.
Service members who were on maternity convalescent leave or caregiver leave on December 27, 2022 (before the new policy went into effect) and had not used up their leave will transition to leave under the new policy without any loss of benefit and will receive the expanded benefit. This means that parents on maternity convalescent leave or caregiver leave as of December 27, 2022 will receive a total of 18 weeks (between the old policy and the new policy) of non-chargeable leave following the birth of their Child. Service members (other than birth parents), on caregiver leave, e.g., a Father on three weeks of secondary caregiver leave, as of December 27, 2022, will receive a total of 12 weeks of parental leave.
The leave can be taken by both birth and non-birth parents and must be administered in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined in the DTM. The expansion of the MPLP, which applies to all eligible Service members as of January 4, 2023, takes precedence over previous DoD issuances and service regulations.
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.
Active component Service member, or a Reserve component Service member performing active Reserve duty 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.
Maternity Convalescent Leave and Parental Leave are two separate non-chargeable periods of absence. DTM 23-001 does not change the use of maternity convalescent leave, which is limited to a covered Soldier birth parent after a qualifying birth event. In cases when a baby is stillborn or the covered member suffers a miscarriage, convalescent leave (other than maternity convalescent leave) may be granted.
The parental leave described in DTM 23-001 applies to a Service member when any one of these events occurs on or after December 27, 2022: the birth of a Service member’s Child, adoption of a minor Child by the Service member, or placement of a minor Child with the Service member for adoption or long-term foster care.
Parental Leave for Birth: Service members will be authorized parental leave for the birth of their Child and to care for the Child.
For the birth parent, 12 weeks of parental leave will be authorized following a period of convalescence from childbirth.
Convalescent leave may be authorized for the recovery of the birth parent from giving birth if such leave is specifically recommended, in writing, by the health care provider of the birth parent to address a diagnosed medical condition and is approved by the unit commander. The period of convalescent leave immediately following childbirth will be taken in one increment. Leave will begin on the first full day after the birth of the Child or the date of release of the Service member from the hospital or similar facility where the birth took place, whichever is later.
12 weeks of parental leave will be authorized during the one-year period beginning on the date of birth of the Child. Parental leave will be taken following any period of convalescent leave.
For the non-birth parent, 12 weeks of parental leave will be authorized during the one-year period beginning on the date of birth of the Child. If the Child is born outside of marriage, the non-birth parent’s parentage of the Child must be established in pursuant to criteria prescribed by the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) within 90 days (stateside) or 120 days (overseas) of the birth or will forfeit eligibility. A birthparent is not required to establish proof of parentage.
Parental Leave for Adoption Placement or Adoption: Service embers, to include dual military couples, will be authorized 12 weeks of parental leave during the one-year period following the date of placement of a minor Child with the Service member for adoption, or the date of adoption of a minor Child by the Service member.
If a Service member (or a dual military couple) uses a surrogate and they become the legal parent(s) of a newborn Child, the event will be treated as an adoption and will be authorized 12 weeks of parental leave.
A Service member is not authorized an additional 12 weeks of parental leave when the placement of a minor Child with the member for adoption is finalized as an adoption by the Service member of a minor Child already residing within the Service member’s household.
Parental Leave for Long-term Foster Care Placement: Service Members, to include dual military couples, will be authorized 12 weeks of parental leave during the one-year period after the date of placement of a minor Child with the Service member for long-term foster care of the placed Child. A Service member is not authorized an additional 12 weeks of parental leave when the placement of a minor Child with the Service member for long-term foster care is:
Converted to a placement for adoption with the Service member; or
Finalized as an adoption by the Service member of a minor Child already residing within the Service member’s household.
Transitioning of Primary and Secondary Caregivers to the Expanded MPLP
Parental leave authorized by DTM 23-001 applies to Service members who have unused caregiver leave or maternity convalescent leave by December 27, 2022. If the unused leave was authorized by the March 23, 2018 USD(P&R) Memorandum. The Service member is authorized a total of 12 weeks of parental leave, but the Service member’s unit commander must approve the request.
Any used caregiver leave of a Service member when combined with the parental leave authorized by DTM 23-001 must not exceed a total of 12 weeks. A birth parent who is in a maternity convalescent status as of December 27, 2022, is authorized to continue in such a status until the birth parent completes the approved period of maternity convalescent leave.
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 1 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.
Directive Type Memorandum 23-001:
Department of Defense Instruction 1327.06:
Army Directive 2022-06 (Parenthood, Pregnancy, and Postpartum):
Army Regulation 600-8-10 (Leaves and Passes):
The Army Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) Frequently Asked Questions: