Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP)

Regular Air Force: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

Summary

The Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) provides non-chargeable leave entitlements following the birth or adoption of a Child. The policy applies to Total Force Service members who are birth mothers and fathers, same-sex couples, as well as adoptive and surrogate parents.

Eligibility

Active component Service member, or a Reserve component Service member performing active Reserve duty for a period in excess of 12 months, and Reserve component Service members performing duty under a call or order to active service in excess of 12 months are eligible for The Military Parental Leave Program.

Benefit Highlights

The Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP) consists of the following forms of non-chargeable leave following a qualifying birth event or adoption for covered Service members: Maternity Convalescent Leave, Primary Caregiver Leave, and Secondary Caregiver Leave. Only one primary and one secondary caregiver maybaby hand holding an adult thumb be authorized for each qualifying birth event or adoption. The primary caregiver is the parent with the primary responsibility for caring for a Child. Designations for caregiver status should be made as early as possible and follow Department of Defense guidance.

Maternity Convalescent Leave:

  • Is limited to a covered Service member birth parent or after a birth qualifying event, i.e. an adoption. When a baby is stillborn or the covered member suffers a miscarriage, convalescent leave, other than maternity convalescent leave, may be granted.

  • Must be medically necessary for the health and safety of the member or fetus

  • Is limited to 42 days of non-chargeable leave, unless additional Maternity Convalescent Leave is specifically recommended, in writing, by the medical provider of the covered member to address a diagnosed medical condition and is approved by the member's commander.

  • Must be taken prior to any Caregiver Leave

  • Must be taken in only one increment

  • May be taken in conjunction with Primary or Secondary Caregiver Leave, and/or with approved ordinary leave

  • May not be disapproved by a commander

  • May not be transferred to create any kind of shared benefit.

  • Will be forfeited if unused at separation from active service.

In cases where a baby is stillborn, the member suffers a miscarriage, or where the baby is given up for adoption immediately following birth, Convalescent Leave, other than Maternity Convalescent Leave, may be granted in accordance with AFI 41-210.

Primary Caregiver Leave: Service member must be designated as, “primary caregiver” in conjunction with qualifying birth event(s) or adoption(s). The following conditions apply:

  • Is limited to 42 days of non-chargeable leave and must be taken within one year of a qualifying birth event or adoption

  • May be taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave and/or approved ordinary leave. It may not be taken consecutively with chargeable terminal leave and/or administrative absence for transition.

  • If not taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave, must be taken within one year of a qualifying birth event or adoption.

  • Must be taken in only one increment

  • May not be authorized in cases of a qualifying birth event where the Child is given up for adoption, and/or parental rights are terminated.

  • Eligibility, or the leave itself if started, terminates upon the death of the Child. However, in such cases, covered members may be transitioned to an emergency leave status in accordance with DoDI 1327.06.

  • Will be forfeited if any portion remains unused at separation from active service

  • May not be transferred to create any kind of shared benefit

Secondary Caregiver Leave: Service members who are designated as, “secondary caregivers” in conjunction with qualifying birth event(s) or adoption(s). The following conditions apply:

  • Is limited to no more than 21 days of non-chargeable leave and must be taken within one year of a qualifying birth event or adoption

  • May be taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave and/or approved ordinary leave. It may not be taken consecutively with chargeable terminal leave and/or administrative absence for transition.

  • If not taken in conjunction with Maternity Convalescent Leave, it must be taken within one year of a qualifying birth event or adoption

  • Must be taken in only one increment

  • May not be authorized in cases of a qualifying birth event where the Child is given up for adoption, and/or parental rights are terminated or surrendered

  • May not be transferred to create any kind of shared benefit

  • Will be forfeited if any portion remains unused at separation from active service

  • Eligibility, or the leave itself if started, terminates upon the death of the Child. However, in such cases, covered members may be transitioned to an emergency leave status in accordance with DoDI 1327.06.

Other Considerations

Child born outside of a marriage: In the case of a Child born outside of a marriage, the member's parentage of the Child must be established in accordance with AFI 36-3026. Member must initiate registration in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) within 30 days of the birth or will forfeit eligibility. A birthparent is not required to establish proof of parentage.

Surrogacy: Primary and secondary caregiver leave as it relates to surrogacy. In cases where a Service allows its members to act as a surrogate, only the 6-week Maternity Convalescent Leave (subject to the provisions for extending Maternity Convalescent Leave in AFI 36-3003, paragraph 3.2.1.1.2) following childbirth is authorized for a covered Service member.

  • A covered Service member whose Spouse serves as a surrogate and gives birth is not entitled to Primary or Secondary Caregiver Leave.

In cases where a covered Service member uses a surrogate, and the member becomes the legal parent or guardian of the Child, the event will be treated as an adoption, and the Service member will be entitled to either Primary or Secondary Caregiver Leave.

Additional Information

Department of Defense Instruction 1327.06
https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/132706p.pdf

Air Force Guidance Memorandum to AFI  36-3003, Military Leave Program
https://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-3003/afi36-3003.pdf

Document Review Date: 10 January 2022