May 7, 2009
By G-1 PAO
<b> Paternity Leave </b>
<b> What is it' </b>
The Army's new paternity leave policy gives fathers additional time to be with their families when a new child is born. The policy, which was signed into law under President George W. Bush on Oct. 14, grants married Soldiers up to 10 consecutive days of non-chargeable administrative leave after the birth of a child. Paternity leave must be taken within 45 days of the child's birth; deployed Soldiers must take the leave within 60 days after returning from deployment. Leave not taken within the established timeframe will be lost.
Single Soldiers who father a child out-of-wedlock are not eligible for paternity leave.
<b> What has the Army done'</b>
The Army recognizes the importance of families being together during significant events such as the birth of a child. It has developed a flexible paternity leave policy that allows male Soldiers to support their spouses during the joyous, but possibly stressful, time of adjustment following the arrival of a new family member. It also provides Soldiers returning from deployments uninterrupted time with their child to begin building bonds that will last a lifetime.
The policy allows Soldiers who have taken annual leave in connection with the birth of a child since October 2008 to request up to 10 days of leave be restored/re-credited to their leave account. Soldiers must provide documentation to support their claim (e.g., DA Form 31 or LES) and submit it through the unit S1 or Personnel Administrative Center.
<b> What continuing efforts does the Army have planned'</b>
The Army will continue to promote this new benefit to the Army community through in-house, installation and electronic media outlets. Soldiers and officers are encouraged to take advantage of this valuable family bonding opportunity and supervisors and commanders at all levels should approve paternity leave whenever it is feasible.
<b> Why is this important to the Army' </b>
Paternity Leave provides greater stability and predictability to Soldiers and their families. By providing a benefit that is increasingly more common in the civilian sector, the Army is building on its reputation as an organization at the forefront of changing societal trends.
Ref: <a href="http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hR/health/docs/ALARACT%20062-2009%20ARMY%20GUIDANCE%20FOR%20PATERNITY%20LEAVE%20AUTH.pdf" target="_blank">ALARACT Message 062/2009, released 10 Mar 2009</a>