The Marine Corps will soon allow secondary caregivers to take three weeks of leave after the arrival of a child ― adding one week onto the Corps’ current policy.

“Marine parents, who are designated as secondary caregivers, will be authorized up to 21 days of non-chargeable Secondary Caregiver Leave,” Maj. Jordan Cochran, a spokesman for Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, told Marine Corps Times in an email. “This 7-day increase of SCL, from the previous 14 days, will further improve Marine and family readiness, as well as recruiting, retention, and overall talent management of the force.”

Marine Lt. Gen. David Ottignon, deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, testified before Congress on Tuesday, saying that the update will come sometime within the week.

Increasing the amount of parental leave Marines receive has been a pet project for Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger since he took over as the Corps’ top Marine.

In 2019 Berger supported the idea of having Marines take up to a year of parental leave, in order to keep up with society.

However, federal laws cap the amount of uncharged parental leave a primary caregiver can take at 12 weeks. Historically that has been set to six weeks of primary caregiver leave and six weeks of convalescent leave to recover from giving birth.

Due to a provision of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, Marines designated as the primary caregiver are now eligible to take all 12 weeks of leave regardless of whether they actually gave birth to the child.

Prior to the passing of the NDAA the Marine Corps released an administrative message encouraging commanders to approve annual leave in conjunction with parental leave.

Marines were allowed to tack on an additional 60 days of leave to parental leave if they already had accrued it, according to the MARADMIN.

For Marines with fewer than 60 days of leave available the Corps authorized Marines to take up to 45 days of borrowed leave, according to the MARADIN.

The MARADMIN did not differentiate between secondary caregiver leave and primary caregiver leave in the MARADMIN.

With the upcoming change to secondary caregiver leave, the Marines acting as the secondary caregiver could be allowed to take almost three months of leave.

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