The new law extends to 'legal custodians' as well as married couples.

The Navy could increase the amount of paid paternity leave in the near future from 10 to as many as 21 days, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke told sailors at a Jan. 16 career symposium in Yokosuka, Japan.

The policy change, according to Burke, is “not just going to be for married couples — it will be for legal custodians as well, reflecting kind of where we are in our modern society,” he said during a talk with sailors at the symposium.

“I’m not really sure exactly where that’s going to end up. Currently it’s 10 days and it’s probably going to at least 14 or maybe something a little bit more than that.”

Exactly how the policy will shake out and when it will be officially announced is still up in the air.

“Navy is awaiting OSD release of guidance that implements primary and secondary caregiver leave as directed by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Anderson, spokeswoman for CNP.

“Once OSD and Department of Navy guidance is released, Navy will release a NAVADMIN with the new leave categories and rules and leave dates authorized, including whether any retroactive entitlements will be authorized.”

The new law allows the Department of Defense to authorize up to 21 days of leave for a “secondary care giver,” but lawmakers didn’t mandate that specific number of days, meaning DoD or the individual services can authorize days up to that amount, but can’t go over.

Navy officials say that the because the way the new law was written, the proposed policy could also end up applying to domestic partners who are not a birth parent, depending on DoD authorization.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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