Army Paternity Leave - Fostering Bonding Between Fathers And Their Children

Army Paternity Leave – Fostering Bonding Between Fathers And Their Children

By: - Parenting - August 24, 2011
army paternity leave %E2%80%93 fostering bonding between fathers and their children

In 2009 the United States Army authorized paternity leave for the first time. The Army paternity leave policy provides a maximum of ten days, which must be used consecutively, during which fathers can bond with their newborn children. It must be taken within forty-five days of the child’s birth for non-deployed soldiers. Deployed soldiers have sixty days after returning to their home station to use this leave. The policy is only available to married soldiers. The Army paternity leave policy includes soldiers on active duty and in the reserves. This marks a significant step forward for fathers in the Army, and for fathers in the USA, as most companies do not offer paternity leave at this time. The USA is one of the few developed countries that does not offer significant paid leave for mothers or fathers, and having the government step forward and lead the charge is definitely a step in the right direction.

The Army was actually the last of all of the branches of the military to implement a military paternity leave policy. The Navy was the first to put such a policy into place. The 2009 Defense Authorization Act instructed that military paternity leave be available to all branches of US defense forces, but left it up to the different arms of the military how they would put this plan into action. All of the branches of the military have created slightly different policies. Some, such as the Navy, allow for the ten days of leave to be taken non-consecutively within a full year of the child’s birth. The Air Force allows 60 days after the child’s birth but does require the days be taken consecutively. The Army paternity leave policy appears to be the most restrictive. Military paternity leave has been a long time coming, according to many fathers in the armed forces. The limited paternity leave programs enable them to better bond with their families and therefore be happier and more well-adjusted servicemen. Others have criticized the implementation of this leave only for married couples, alleging this discriminates against the children of unmarried couples who will not benefit from bonding time with their fathers.

The fact of the matter is, it is at least a step in the right direction, and much like marriage equality, full equality and better family, medical and vacation leave policies will likely be a long time in coming to the United States. In terms of leave, the USA is one of the most behind the times nations in the developed world. However, it seems like there are some strides being taken to overcome these shortcomings.


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