Marines considering expanding maternity leave to one full year

Marines considering expanding maternity leave to one full year
© Greg Nash

The Marine Corps will consider extending maternity leave to a full year, a significant expansion over the Defense Department’s current 12-week policy.

“We should never ask our Marines to choose between being the best parent possible and the best Marine possible,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said in his planning guide to the force. “Our parental / maternity leave policies are inadequate and have failed to keep pace with societal norms and modern talent management practices.”

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“In the future, we will consider up to one year leaves-of-absence for mothers to remain with their children before returning to full duty to complete their service obligations.”

The Pentagon currently provides a standard 12-week maternity leave policy as mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which requires employers to offer “unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.” 

The U.S. is one of just a few industrialized countries that doesn’t legally mandate paid maternity leave. 

“We fully support the growth of our Marine families, and will do everything possible to provide parents with opportunities to remain with their newborns for extended periods of time,” Berger said.

The Marine Corps updated its paternity leave policy in 2018, boosting it from 10 days to 14 days.

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