Coast Guard Commandant announces new parental leave policy

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Coast Guard Commandant announces new parental leave policy

WASHINGTON -- In accordance with the Department of Defense Military Parental Leave Program, the Coast Guard Commandant announced an expansion to the service's parental leave policy following the birth or adoption of a child.

Previously, Coast Guard policy authorized 12 consecutive weeks of maternity convalescent leave to female service members. Additionally, 10 days of non-chargeable leave were authorized to a Coast Guardsman whose spouse gave birth.

"The strength of our Coast Guard families determines the strength of our Coast Guard," said Adm. Karl L. Schultz, Coast Guard commandant.  "That's why time off to care for new family members is really a readiness issue.  Our members need - and deserve - time to bond with their new child and adjust to new routines so they can return to work ready to keep the nation safe."

The new policy applies to all Coast Guardsmen who are birth mothers and fathers, same-sex couples, as well as adoptive and surrogate parents. The new policy also applies to reservists on Active Duty.

The new policy outlines three forms of non-chargeable leave following a qualifying birth event or adoption: maternity convalescent leave, primary caregiver leave and secondary caregiver leave. Now maternity convalescent leave is 42 days, primary caregiver leave is 42 days and secondary caregiver leave is 21 days. Every birth mother will have maternity convalescent leave. Caregiver leave is authorized in addition to the maternity convalescent leave.

Service members having a child by birth, adoption or surrogacy will determine which parent is the primary and secondary caregiver. Designations for caregiver status should be made as early as possible and follow Department of Defense guidance. Each parent can only hold one caregiver status per birth event or adoption; for example, a secondary caregiver cannot transfer their leave to the primary caregiver.

Coast Guardsmen should submit their caregiver leave as determined by their local command.

The Coast Guard policy, authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, is effective immediately and retroactive to December 23, 2016.

For additional information regarding the Military Leave Program, please visit