Members of the military will now get 12 weeks of parental leave, doubling the previous amount, after a memorandum from the Department of Defense went into effect Wednesday.
The 12 weeks are for both birthing and non-birthing parents, which includes parents of recently adopted children and members who use surrogates, and applies to parents of children born or adopted after Dec. 27, 2022.
Eligible members must be in active or reserve duty for at least 12 months.
Parents giving birth will also receive a period of convalescence to recover from labor “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 memo states.
The 12-week parental leave must be taken within the child’s first year of birth or adoption.
Military members who adopt a child who was already living with them are not eligible for the leave. Foster parents may receive the 12-week leave when they first bring a child into their home, but do not get additional leave if they decide to formally adopt the child.
Parents may also take their leave in increments of at least seven days, and can receive additional parental leave for multiple qualifying events if there is at least 72 hours between the events.