Women serving in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps just got some great news! They now have 18 weeks of paid maternity leave — tripling the amount previously allowed.
Why the Navy is changing the rules
One reason behind the change is to retain the ‘best people,’ said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who made the announcement last week.
‘We have incredibly talented women who want to serve, and they also want to be mothers and have the time to fulfill that important role the right way… Meaningful maternity leave when it matters most is one of the best ways that we can support the women who serve our county. This flexibility is an investment in our people and our Services, and a safeguard against losing skilled service members.’
The full amount of leave doesn’t have to be taken all at once, but it does have to be within one year. The new policy applies immediately to new moms and will be retroactively applied to any female sailor or Marine who has had a baby since January 1 of this year.
Dads, however, don’t get such a good deal. Men serving in the Navy and Marines have 10 days of paid paternity leave available to use after the birth of a child. But this isn’t something the Secretary of the Navy can change himself — he would need congressional approval.
The new maternity leave policy is part of a recent series of initiatives put in place by Mabus in an effort to improve the balance of work and family life for sailors and Marines.