Top 5 things to know about surge staffing during primary caregiver and convalescent leave

Directly from the RAND Women’s Retention Study and Holistic Analysis (WRSHA) recommendations: “To address and diminish the stigma women often face related to being away from their unit leading up to and during parental leave, we recommend two options for the Coast Guard to explore to augment units with additional manpower during parental leave or, if necessary in certain circumstances, during pregnancy as well.” The Personnel Readiness Task Force (PRTF) is working to serve as workforce advocates, act on the RAND WRSHA findings, and address readiness challenges that impact our Mission Ready Total Workforce.  We heard you and we are working for you! Learn more about the PRTF.


1. What is it? If you are expecting a child, the Coast Guard wants to support you, your family, and your unit during your time away.  Coast Guard headquarters will now provide funding for units to bring in a Coast Guard Reservist while you spend those critical early days bonding with your family and enjoying your new bundle of joy. Members, both female and male primary caregivers, who are on non-chargeable parental leave for 41 or more consecutive days due to the birth or adoption of a child, may receive HQ funded short-term Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS) through Personnel Service Center’s Surge Staffing Section.

2. Has surge staffing for this type of absence existed before? Yes! The Surge Staffing Section is best known for staffing critical fills and voluntary short term assignments for a variety of life events and surge/contingency operations.  The ability to request a backfill for sustained personnel gaps has always been available, but the associated cost to the individual unit was very high.  With a centrally funded pilot program specific to parental leave, the unit will no longer be restricted by respective operating funding limitations.

3. How long can my unit be covered? Anywhere from 42 days to 120 days. This covers prenatal (30), maternity convalescent (42), and primary caregiver (42) leave. For more information on the Parental Leave policy, and what applies to you, see The Military Assignments and Authorized Absences Manual, COMDTINST M1000.8 (series).

Click this flyer to view full size and print for distribution at your unit! Spread the word and #gotellten

4. How does the unit make its request?  The Request for Forces (RFF) process for parental leave backfill is the same as a backfill for any other position gap.  The only exception is that the unit does not provide any accounting information, and the backfills are sourced voluntarily through the Reserve.  RFFs should be made at least 12 weeks prior to the due date or adoption event. The request must include the phrase “Parental Leave Augmentation” in the RFF subject line and sent to

5. Will every gap be filled? No, not every gap will be filled as ADOS is voluntary. Sometimes the perfect backfill may not exist, particularly in certain operational communities. Unit Commanders are encouraged to be flexible and innovative in considering different ranks/rates and specialties to augment the position if a one-for-one backfill cannot be sourced.  By name candidates are encouraged!  As requests are made, they will be solicited for volunteers on a first come first serve basis. For vacancies of critical billets, the critical fill process is the same to ensure the position is covered and the mission is sustained.

Learn more about how to support your members through surge staffing (ALCOAST 124/19) and Obtaining Personnel Resources to Meet Surge Requirements, COMDTINST M5400.1 (series). Help spread the word, we encourage you to go tell ten members about the surge staffing! #gotellten

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