The Navy recently sent out guidance implementing new parental bereavement leave, which is part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act President Biden signed into law last December.
Under the new law, federal workers can take up to two weeks of paid bereavement leave due to the death of a child. Permanent and term Title 5 employees with at least one year of service are eligible for this new leave category. Seasonal employees cannot use leave during their off-season. Employees with an intermittent work schedule are not eligible.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance earlier this year with details but said each agency has to issue its own guidance to implement this provision of the law. It’s unclear how many agencies have done so.
According to the Navy guidance:
- Navy organizations may grant a total of two weeks of bereavement leave following the death of a qualifying child of an eligible employee.
- Pending OPM’s decision regarding eligibility for employees who have a miscarriage and/or stillbirth, the Navy doesn’t recommend authorizing parental bereavement leave.
- This is a new type of leave that is administered independently from any other type of leave, including the unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), under which bereavement leave is not authorized.
- Agencies should accommodate employees’ request to use a combination of FMLA leave, sick leave, and bereavement leave.
- This one-time benefit must be used continuously unless there is a mutual agreement between the employing agency and the employee to allow intermittent use. A supervisor’s approval for intermittent use is sufficient pending additional guidance from DoD and/or the Navy.
- Employee self-certification of the death of a child is permitted unless required by specific command policy.