New MARADMIN gives active-duty parents flexibility with parental leave

14 Jun 2018 | Cpl. Nikki Morales Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

In accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, the United States Marine Corps released a new Marine Administrative Message 331/18 implementing changes in the Marine Corps’ parental leave policy on June 14.

One of the major changes is how the parental leave is broken down. MARADMIN 331/18 states that parental leave is now broken into three different sectors; Maternity Convalescent Leave, Primary Caregiver Leave and Secondary Caregiver Leave.

MCL is 42 consecutive, non-chargeable leave days that only apply to the birthparent for their medical needs. This leave may not be denied by the commander. MCL may be extended by the birthparents Medical Health Care Provider for additional care, however it will reduce the PCL by the extended amount of days.

PCL is 42 consecutive days designated to the parent with the primary responsibility of caring for the child in the case of a qualified birthing event or adoption. The lowest commander with promotion authority should approve PCL if the parent meets the definition laid out in paragraph 3.d. of MARADMIN 331/18. PCL must be taken within the first year of the child’s life.

SCL is 14 consecutive days for the parent that is not primarily responsible for the child. Just as PCL, the SCL will have to be approved by the lowest commander with promotion authority if the parent meets the definition laid out in paragraph 3.e. of MARADMIN 331/18, and it must be taken in the first year of the child’s life.

In some cases, such as a dual-active-duty relationship, the father or the mother may take the PCL, although it is dependent on the circumstances and which parent meets the definition of the primary caregiver. This goes for active-duty-civilian relationships as well, but only applies to the active-duty member.

“The birth parent always rates MCL, or some type of convalescent leave period,” said Capt. William Dennis, Policy Analyst, Manpower Policy at Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “The caregiver designation is requested by the Marine and approved by appropriate authority in accordance with the definitions provided in the MARADMIN.”

According to MARADMIN 331/18 paragraph 7.f.1, the approving commander must coordinate with the spouse’s command, regardless of the branch of service, to establish who is designated the primary caregiver and secondary caregiver.

An active-duty parent designated as the secondary caregiver, with a child born after December 23, 2016 may be entitled to the SCL days that they did not receive, however, retroactive entitlements must begin within 18 months of a qualifying birth event and/or adoption.

The MARADMIN also implements a significant change for couples who have children outside of marriage as annotated in paragraph 9.a.

“Previously only married Marines were authorized parental leave,” said Dennis. “Under the new parental leave policy, non-married parents are able to utilize caregiver leave with official documentation annotated in the MARADMIN.”

Flexibility is one of the benefits of this MARADMIN. Marines and their commanders are able to communicate and decide the most efficient time for the Marine to take their PCL.

“The new parental leave policy allows more flexibility for the Marine and the commander,” said Dennis. “Primary Caregiver Leave can be delayed. The Marine should work with their command on the timing of taking leave to best meet the needs of the Marine and requirements of the unit.”

For more information on MARADMIN 331/18 visit: or call (703) 784-9584.