FY2022 NDAA: Parental Leave Benefits




INSIGHTi
FY2022 NDAA: Parental Leave Benefits
November 18, 2021
Background
Uniformed Servicemembers
Leave authorities for uniformed servicemembers are specified under Chapter 40 of Title 10, and Chapter 9
of Title 37 United States Code. Annual leave accrues at a rate of 2.5 days per month of active service, and
individuals may accrue up to 60 days of leave or up to 120 days under certain circumstances. Sick leave
or convalescent leave is based on medical circumstances and physician’s approval. Military commanders
also have the discretion to grant a one-time non-chargeable emergency leave of absence for up to 14 days
due to a medical condition of the servicemember or immediate family, or other hardship. In addition to
other leave, a uniformed servicemember designated as the primary caregiver (typical y the parent giving
birth) is authorized up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave (including up to six weeks convalescent leave)
in connection with the birth of a child, or up to six weeks for adoption. Individuals designated as
secondary caregivers are authorized up to 21 days of leave in connection with a birth or adoption. Parental
leave may be taken in more than one increment and must be taken within one year of birth or adoption.
DOD policies further define primary and secondary caregivers.
Federal Civilians
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020 NDAA, P.L. 116-92, as amended
by the FY2021 NDAA, P.L. 116-283) amended the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA, P.L. 103-3) to
provide a new paid parental leave benefit to most federal civil service employees. Covered federal
employees may use up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for the arrival of a new child by birth, adoption,
or foster care placement and for bonding with that child. The leave is available for children born to or
placed with the employee on or after October 1, 2020, and must be used within 12 months of the child's
arrival. Such leave may be used by an employee intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule only with
the employing agency’s agreement. The paid parental leave benefit must be used together with the
employee's FMLA leave entitlement. (This leave is in addition to federal employees' annual and sick
leave benefits.)
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Several proposals included in the FY2022 NDAA would amend parental leave policies for
servicemembers and federal civilians (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. FY2022 NDAA Proposals

Source: Congressional Research Service review of H.R. 4350 and S. 2792.
Discussion
Proposed Amendments to Servicemember Leave Benefits
Both the House-passed (Section 621) and Senate committee-reported (Section 520) bil s would expand
servicemember parental leave to include a foster child placement (See Table 1). The House bil would
extend the leave al owance in connection with an adoption or foster placement from 6 weeks to 12 weeks


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for the primary caregiver and from 21 days to 12 weeks for the secondary caregiver. The House bil
would also extend primary caregiver leave in connection with the birth of a child from 12 weeks to 18
weeks. The Senate committee bil would remove the statutory designation of primary and secondary
caregivers and al ow al servicemembers to take up to 12 weeks of non-chargeable parental leave in
connection with a birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. The Senate version would not extend the
parental leave al owance for those designated primary caregivers and would add clarification to 10 U.S.C.
§702(i) that convalescent leave shal be taken concurrently with the 12 weeks of authorized leave. The
Senate committee bil would provide some flexibility to use parental leave beyond one year if operational
commitments prevent the member from using al authorized leave; the House bil has no similar
provision.
Table 1. Comparison of Maximum Leave Allowances Under Current Law and NDAA
Proposals
FY2022 NDAA
Caregiver Type
Current
H.R. 4350
S. 2792
Primary – Birth
12 weeks including
18 weeks including
12 weeks, al
convalescent leave
convalescent leave
convalescent leave
concurrent
Primary –Adoption
6 weeks
12 weeks
12 weeks

Primary – Foster Placement
None
12 weeks
12 weeks
Secondary – Birth
21 days
12 weeks
12 weeks
Secondary – Adoption
21 days
12 weeks
12 weeks
Secondary – Foster Placement
None
12 weeks
12 weeks
Source: Congressional Research Service review of current law and H.R. 4350 and S. 2792.
Section 621 of the House-passed bil would al ow a servicemember “who would have been a secondary
caregiver but for a miscarriage, stil birth, or infant death” with up to 12 weeks of leave. Another provision
in the House bil (Section 627) would al ow continuation of pre-approved paid parental leave for
caregivers upon the death of a child. A similar provision was included in the House version of the FY2021
NDAA (P.L. 116-283), but not enacted. Section 520A of the Senate committee bil would al ow for two
weeks of bereavement leave in connection with the death of a spouse or child. Those with greater than 30
days of accrued leave would be required to take accrued leave until the balance fal s below 30 days.
Proposed Amendments to FMLA-protected Leave for Federal Employees
The House-passed version of the bil (Section 1122) proposes to amend FMLA provisions at Title 5 of the
U.S. Code
to include needs related to the death of a child (bereavement leave) as an FMLA-qualifying use
of leave, and to al ow eligible federal employees covered by Title 5 FMLA provisions to use their paid
parental leave benefit for such needs. Similar amendments to FMLA provisions at Title 29 (certain
legislative and executive branch employees) and Title 3 (certain White House employees) are not
proposed.
The House bil further proposes (Section 1110) to amend the time-in-service eligibility requirement for
federal workers covered by FMLA provisions at U.S. Code Title 5 and Title 29 to account for prior
service in the armed forces. Such service would be counted toward the requirement if the employee
served on active duty as a member of the armed forces for at least one year; and separation from the
armed forces is characterized as honorable.


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There are no similar provisions for federal civilians in the Senate committee-reported version of the bil .


Author Information

Kristy N. Kamarck
Sarah A. Donovan
Specialist in Military Manpower
Specialist in Labor Policy





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