The Army has finally issued their paternity leave policy, becoming the last DOD service branch to do so. The FY 2009 Defense Authorization Act established a new program which allows up to ten days of non-chargeable leave for new fathers. The act leaves it up to the individual services to develop plans to implement the new benefit. The Navy was the first branch to issue details about their program, followed by the Air Force, and then the Marine Corps.
Under the Army program, which was released March 10 (2009), in ALARACT message 062/2009, married Soldiers who's wives have given birth after October 14, 2008 are authorized 10 days of non-chargeable paternity leave.
Under the Army program, paternity leave must be taken consecutively (cannot be broken up into segments), and must be taken within 45 days of birth. Deployed soldiers have up to 60 days after returning to home station to use their leave. If the leave is not taken within the above time-frames, Soldiers lose their right to the leave.
However, there is a grandfather clause for Soldiers who took regular (chargeable) leave in conjunction with the birth of a child between October 14 and March 10 (when the policy was announced). Such Soldiers can request that 10 days of annual leave be restored to their leave balance. In order to do so, Soldiers must provide documentation (such as the DA Form 31, Leave Form, or a Leave and Earning Statement, showing they took annual leave in conjunction with the birth of a child.