Paternity Leave
Pfc. Tierrine Wesley holds his 7-month-old son for only the second time following his unit's welcome home ceremony at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii. Soldiers on deployment when their child is born are allotted up to 10 days of paternity leave that must be used within 60 days of returning home.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 2, 2009) -- The Army wants Soldier-dads to know there is a new paternity leave policy available to them and spread the word to military bloggers at the Pentagon today.

The policy, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush Oct. 14, 2008, allows new dads up to 10 consecutive days of administrative leave after the birth of a child.

Leading the roundtable was Col. Larry Locke, chief of compensation and entitlements for the Army G-1. He said the policy is one way of showing appreciation for Soldier-dads, because leave time can take months to accrue.

Those ten days are "very important to young Soldiers and families" Locke said, and cautioned the roundtable participants not to "under-sell" the policy benefits.

Joining the roundtable were two Soldiers, both fathers who were able to take advantage of the new leave policy. Sgt. 1st Class Logan McKenzie said that the policy helped to facilitate the birth of his son.

McKenzie, stationed away from his wife, participated in an in-vitro fertilization program at Walter Reed. The ten days of non-chargeable leave allowed McKenzie more time to travel back and forth for the procedures and to support his wife.

Maj. Rodney Von Price had his third child this past March and was concerned about who would take care of the older two children while his wife was in the hospital.

"Thankfully, the Army created a system where I would have time to do that," he said.

The policy states that paternity leave must be taken within 45 days of the child's birth if the Soldier is in the United States. If the Soldier is deployed, he must take the leave within 60 days of returning from deployment. Leave not taken within the established timeframes with be lost.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16