This new policy officially went into effect in October but I’m finding more and more people who aren’t aware of it. Just recently, I sat in on a blogger’s roundtable that gave more information about the policy and also allowed us to hear personal stories from soldiers who had utilized the policy.
In the past, it was up to the command to grant leave to soldier who became a father. Now, there is a policy in place that grants the new dad (whether for the first child or subsequent children) ten days of non-chargeable leave. The leave must be taken all at once and within 45 days of the baby’s birth. Since this has been passed, it is no longer up to command whether it should be granted – it is guaranteed leave for a new parent.
If the father is deployed overseas when the baby is born and unable to return for the birth, then the soldier can still take 10 days of non-chargeable leave upon his return to the states. In this situation, the leave should be taken within 60 days of redeployment.
Also, its important to note that this policy applies to fathers of new babies. Female soldiers who give birth fall under different leave policies as well as military families who are adopting a child. Kudos to those who pushed for this new policy. It is definitely a step in the right direction and ensures all new fathers will receive the same amount of time with their new family regardless of their unit or command.
from June 2009 MTTA Newsletter