Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” This is certainly true of change in the military. I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1999. At that time, if women were pregnant, they had the option to get out of the service. Dads, on the other hand, were not permitted any designated amount of time for when their child was born or adopted. Now, the military has designated 12 weeks of parental leave to dads.
A memorandum from the Department of Defense went into effect on Wednesday. The memorandum states:
It is important for the development of military families that members be able to care for their newborn, adopted, or placed child or children, all of whom are referred to as “child.” Unit commanders must balance the needs of the unit with the needs of the member to maximize opportunity to use parental leave.
– Members who give birth will be authorized 12 weeks of parental leave
following a period of convalescence to care for the child.
– Members who are the non-birth parent will be authorized 12 weeks of
parental leave following the birth of their child to care for the child.
– Members who adopt a minor child or who have a minor child placed
for adoption or long-term foster care with them will be authorized 12
weeks of parental leave to care for the child.
– Members will be afforded the opportunity to take full advantage of the
MPLP consistent with their desires, operational requirements, and
training workloads of their unit.
This change in policy to allow dads to take 12 weeks off when a baby is born/adopted/placed into their family is a change for the better. When the military takes care of their service members and their families, then the service members are better prepared to serve their country. This positive change is long overdue, but welcome.
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