The Marine Corps is encouraging commanders to approve annual leave requests that effectively would extend leave for new parents by up to 60 days, according to an administrative message posted Tuesday.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has long championed the idea of a yearlong leave of absence for new parents, noting in the summer of 2019 that the Marine Corps leave policy had not kept up with society.

Though he has worked to increase parental leave, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act has capped the available leave at 12 weeks for the birth, adoption or placement of a new child.

“Commanders are strongly encouraged to approve annual leave in conjunction with (military parental leave program),” the MARADMIN reads.

New Marine mothers who give birth can take off 12 weeks, half for convalescent leave and half for parental leave. New parents who are the primary caregiver but did not give birth are eligible for six weeks of leave, while secondary caregivers are only eligible for 14 days of leave.

Marines are allowed to take up to 60 days of annual leave if they already have it accrued, according to the Marine message. If the Marine has not accrued that much leave, he or she is allowed to be advanced up to 45 days of leave if it can be earned on the Marine’s current contract.

Marines, regardless of whether they gave birth or are the primary or secondary caregiver, would be allowed to take the maximum number of days they have up to 60.

Before taking this leave, Marines should have used all of their parental leave up first, the MARADMIN said.

In total, a Marine who has given birth would be able to take a total of five months of leave if commanders follow this encouragement.

Marines who are the primary caregiver but did not give birth would have a little more than 3.5 months of leave available. Secondary caregivers would have a little more than 2.5 months of parental leave.

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