Army Maternity Leave Policy

Monday, March 7, 2016

What is it?

The Army’s new maternity leave policy grants eligible regular Army or reserve component Soldiers 12 continuous weeks of non-chargeable maternity leave following a birth event. The 12-week leave period starts immediately after the Soldier gives birth or the mother’s release from the hospital, whichever is later. However, the Army’s paternity leave policy remains unchanged.

What has the Army done?

The directive regarding the policy signed March 1, 2016 by acting Army Secretary Patrick J. Murphy, is aligned with a DOD-wide policy announced by Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Jan. 28.

The Army will not allow unit commanders to disapprove maternity leave and encourages the commanders to –

  • Educate their Soldiers to ensure appropriate understanding of the new benefit, including eligibility, applicability, and date of implementation.
  • Ensure that all Soldiers who are on maternity leave or ordinary (chargeable) leave in conjunction with maternity leave, or who were in such a status on Feb. 2, 2016, are immediately counseled, but no later than seven days from the date of the directive.

What continued efforts are planned for the future?

This directive builds upon the authority of the unit commanders and medical providers to continue to grant convalescent leave in accordance with AR 600-8-10 based on an individual Soldier’s fitness for duty. This directive does not limit convalescent leave to 12 weeks when a health professional or medical authority has deemed that such leave is warranted.

Taking maternity leave does not limit career potential, assignments, performance appraisals, or selection for professional military education or training.

Why is it important to the Army?

The Army fully supports DOD’s decision to provide women, across the joint force, up to 12 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. This policy builds on previously announced initiatives on strengthening the force of the future. The Army honors the commitment of Soldiers to serve by ensuring they have the resources to take care of their family members.

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