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What Is Army Paternity Leave?

By Karize Uy
Updated May 17, 2024
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Army paternity leave is a policy that grants a soldier the right to take some time off from his military duties to be a father to his newborn child. In the US, the policy was approved on 14 October 2008 by President George W. Bush. This paternity leave is specifically offered only to those in the Army and is not applicable to any other military branches.

The applicability of Army paternity leave can vary differently according to each country. In the US, the leave can be granted to married soldiers only. In the UK, the paternity leave is more lenient and allows non-married soldiers their own leave of absences. The policy is usually applicable for both single or multiple births such as in twins and quadruplets. For adopted newborn children, the Army usually applies separate policies.

The US Army paternity leave is non-chargeable, meaning the soldier does not have to pay to be granted the leave. In some other countries, the leave may even be a paid paternity leave, so the soldier still receives his regular salary even when out of active duty. Ten days of leave are granted to a US soldier, who can only use up the allowable period consecutively. This means that the 10 days cannot be separated. For example, a soldier cannot use up only five days for one period and use the other five days for a separate period.

After coming back to his base station, the soldier has a maximum of 60 days to take the leave, or else he forfeits the privilege. In some cases when the annual leave overlaps with the time of his child’s birth, the soldier can request his paternity leave to be restored to their “leave account.” According the US policy, the leave should be used within 45 days of the child's birth. This gives the soldier ample time to process necessary documents and inform his commanders and related authorities.

Granting a soldier his Army paternity leave encourages him to still play the role of a father even when serving his country in distant places. The policy, in a way, also helps the soldier’s wife to cope with sudden responsibilities of becoming a mother. Indirectly, the Army paternity leave also promotes a creation of child-parent relationships.

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Discussion Comments

By Sporkasia — On Dec 05, 2014

@Feryll - I agree that all fathers in the military (Army, Navy Marines, Air Force) should have paternity leave. This is definitely overdue, and something that should be addressed immediately. However, I would go a step further and say that whether a new father is married or not should not be a consideration in granting paternity leave.

If a soldier's girlfriend just has a baby then that soldier should have the same right as a married soldier whose wife gives birth to a baby. Both soldiers should be able to take off and go see their babies. Otherwise, the U.S. Government is sending the message that the unmarried soldier is somehow less important, and his family is less valued. This is wrong.

By Feryll — On Dec 04, 2014

I don't understand why the U.S. Army has paternity leave and the other branches of service do not. This really makes no sense to me. Are Army fathers more important than Marine fathers for some reason?

I'm glad we have Army paternity leave, but I would be even more pleased if we had some type of military paternity leave that covered all of the branches of service. This seems like an easy call to me, but maybe I am missing something here.

By Animandel — On Dec 04, 2014

I'm pleased to read that the Army does have a paternity leave policy in place. I was not aware this existed. I think it is so difficult on families when fathers have to be away serving their country and miss out on spending time with their children.

I can't not even imagine how difficult it would have been for me as a kid if my father had been away from home for months at a time. And having my husband miss out on watching our children grow up and being in their living on a daily basis because he was stationed overseas is not something I would want to have to cope with.

It's great that the Army sees the importance of a father being involved in the process of getting a new baby settled into the home.

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