Effective 14 October 2008, a married member of the armed forces on active duty whose wife gives birth to a child shall receive 10 days of leave to be used in connection with the birth of the child.
Navy NewsStand on Paternity Leave
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is paternity leave restricted to married servicemembers only?
Prior to the change in law on October 14th, the services were legally prohibited from awarding non-chargeable leave to ANY new fathers. When President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on 14 October, we received legal permission to award non-chargeable paternity leave to a service member "who's wife delivers a baby." The NDAA is very specific in its language - the Navy can't extended the leave allowance to engaged Sailors, Sailors married after the birth, single fathers, single fathers claiming dependents, etc. The ultimate authority on this issue is the NDAA, so Commanding Officers do not have discretion to authorize paternity leave to unmarried fathers. A Commanding Officer can permit the Sailor to take regular leave if he is not married to the mother, and is encouraged to do so.
2. What if the servicemember is engaged to be married at the time the child is born?
A servicemember is not authorized paternity leave unless he is married to the mother when she delivers the child. The Navy received legal permission to award non-chargeable paternity leave to a service member "who's wife delivers a baby" and cannot authorize the leave for servicemembers who marry the mother following the birth of the child.
3. What if the servicemember is deployed at the time the child is born?
The father can take the leave anytime within 365 days of the child's birth. The intention is to provide new fathers time to bond with their child, support the mother, and assist with family logistics immediately following the birth of the child. However, the 365 day window is built in to ensure that a Sailor who is deployed when his wife delivers is still afforded the opportunity to dedicate time to his child and family upon returning from deployment. If a servicemember is permitted to take the leave during the deployment, the servicemember holds all financial responsibility for flights taken during paternity leave.
4. What if the child was born after October 14th but before the command and/or servicemember knew about the paternity leave authorization?
If the child was born after October 14th but prior to release of NAVADMIN 341/08 on November 26, than the leave can be retroactively returned IAW the NAVADMIN.
5. What about servicemembers who adopt? Are they afforded similar parental benefits?
Adoptive parents also require time for bonding and family arrangements. Adoptive parents currently receive 21 days of administrative leave (as approved by the Defense National Authorization Act of 2006). The reference for this leave is the Navy Guidelines Concerning Pregnancy and Parenthood (OPNAVINST 6000.1C) and the adoptive leave allowance can be found on page 2-4, under "Servicemembers Adopting an Infant Child."