FORT CARSON, Colo. – The Army is an organization that views its Soldiers and their Families as important and essential assets. It is willing to take the steps necessary to maintain clear communication between leaders and their Soldiers, so that these Soldiers can support and grow with their Families while they support military operations. All Army Activities 018/2023, more commonly referred to as ALARACT 018/2023, is the most recent effort to do so.
ALARACT 018/2023, an Expansion of the Military Parental Leave Program, was recently published to create a clear standard in regard to paternity leave. This publication states 12 weeks of parental leave will be authorized in addition to and following maternity convalescent leave. The Soldier’s commander will work with them to schedule when they can go on leave and when they will report to work. Paternal leave begins on the first full day after the birth of the child, the date of release of the parents from the hospital, or any other qualifying event. In this way, Soldiers are presented with expanded benefits made available to them through this new policy.
Sgt. Charles McCormick, a musician with the 4th Infantry Division Band, specifically cited clarity as the benefit he appreciates the most.
“Before the policy change, it was never really clarified what days I would be coming in or what days I would be on leave for,” McCormick said. “Now, there’s a clear standard and schedule created by both the commander and Soldier in question. The clarity of this new policy is better than it was before.”
Now, the schedule can be officially understood by both leadership and Soldiers, there will be less room for clerical errors than there was before the ALARACT was published. Along with clarity, flexibility is another benefit the ALARACT introduces to the paternal leave procedures. The commander organizing the schedule has the ability to work with the Soldier to create a schedule that works for him and his Family, taking the development of the Soldier’s newborn child into consideration as well as unit availability.
Maj. John Morgan, Officer in Charge of the Human Resources Operation Center, 4th Infantry Division, described exactly how the new policy promotes flexibility.
“Commanders have the flexibility based on operational requirements and the needs of the Family to execute a leave plan within 12 months of the qualifying event,” Morgan said. “There’s flexibility built into this ALARACT that allows this Soldier to get their 12 weeks of paternity.”
Clear communication is one more benefit brought forward by the new policy. Now, there is one source outlining the expanded rules and regulations of paternal leave minimizing opportunity for miscommunication.
Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Chaney, Rear Detachment Division command sergeant major, describes why clear communication is so important.
“The most important asset here are the Soldiers and their Families. They’re a part of the Army family,” Chaney said. “Maintaining clear communication between both parties is so important to us. Clear communication allows us to see what needs to be adjusted and changed when it comes to the needs of our Soldiers.”
ALARACT 018/2023 promotes clarity, flexibility, and communication, among other benefits conducive to helping Soldiers be there for their newborn child and their spouses. The leaders of the Army are here to listen to their Soldiers’ needs, and Soldiers are encouraged to bring up these needs to their leadership whenever possible. The Army is allowing the important dynamic between parent and child to be developed, because in the end, both are part of the Army family. To read the ALARACT in full, go to https://armypubs.army.mil/ProductMaps/PubForm/Details.aspx?PUB_ID=1026612.