8 Things to Know About the Military’s Parental Leave Policy

The military’s new parental leave policy came out on January 4, 2023, in Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 23-001. It establishes the Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) as it currently stands.

Here the eight things you need to know bout the new MPLP:

  • Parents will receive 12 weeks of parental leave for the birth OR adoption of a child. The same applies if parents use a surrogate
  • Convalescent leave to recover from the birth of a child will come right before parental leave (it’s in addition to, not taking away from, the 12-week parental leave)
  • Non-birth parents have one year from the time of the birth or adoption to take the 12 weeks of parental leave
  • The effective date is December 27, 2022. So, if a birth or adoption event happened after December 27, 2022, then the new policy applies to you
  • Parental leave does not apply if you finalize an adoption of a foster child already in your home.
  • Parental leave does not have to be consecutive (but you have to request it in chunks of seven days at a time)
  • You can take ordinary leave with parental leave if you need
  • Parental leave can be lost if you don’t take it within one year of the birth/adoption of a child
Military Parental Leave Policy

Photo by Rene Asmussen

Exceptions to the One-Year Rule

There are some exceptions to the one-year rule, but they’re considered on a case-by-case basis. Here are some exceptions:

  • Deployments lasting longer than 90 days within the child’s birth year
  • Resident Professional Military Education away from your duty state lasting longer than 90 days
  • A PCS with a TDY en route longer than 90 days during the child’s birth year
  • TDY lasting longer than 90 days within the birth year
  • Servicemember hospitalization as an in-patient lasting longer than 90 days

Refer to paragraph 6 of the DTM for more if you still have questions.

What Else?

If you have questions about using ordinary leave along with parental leave, similar situations for using ordinary leave apply. Here’s an article that may help you make your decision.

Make a plan with your significant other and trusted military leaders/peers; then discuss your plan with your commander and NCO support channel. That discussion will shape how you use your parental leave and ensure you use all your days.

Remember, your health and well-being are most important while welcoming a new little one to the world.

Here’s a link to a leave form for your use.


Hopefully, this post will steer you in the right direction so you can decide when to take your parental leave. There’s a lot in that memo, so go back and read it for more in-depth questions.

If anything, ask your chain of command, support channel, or S1 shop if you still have questions about the new MPLP.

All Soldiers and leaders need to know about the new parental leave policy. Leaders that enforce the new policy show Soldiers that their well-being is at the forefront of their minds. Since we’re in a people-first Army, all leaders must apply people-first directives.

If you want to read the DTM 23-001 in full, click here.

Help as many people learn about the new parental leave plan. Share it so as many people can know as possible.

Have I missed anything? What else would you add here? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Photo Credit

Featured Image: Photo by Pixabay

1: Rene Asmussen


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