Defense Sec. Ashton B. Carter announced a series of initiatives on Thursday designed to make the military a more family-friendly employer, extending maternity leave across the force and expanding access to child care and expensive reproductive technologies.
“As we introduce today’s reforms, our calculation is quite simple,” Carter told reporters at the Pentagon. “We want our people to be able to balance two of the most solemn commitments they could ever make: a commitment to serve their country and a commitment to start and support a family.
As part of the new measures, the Pentagon will now provide 12 continuous weeks of paid maternity leave for all uniformed service members. That will be a major jump for many service members, including those in the army, who now receive only 6 weeks of paid leave. It’s likely to be a disappointment to members of the Navy and Marine Corps who, under a change last year, receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. Carter said members of those services who are currently pregnant will be granted 18 rather than 12 weeks.
“Twelve weeks is extremely generous … It puts us in the very top tiers of American employers,” Carter said. “But then, you have to balance that against the readiness costs associated with it.”
Paternity leave will increase from 10 to 14 days.
Because fathering is only 1/6th as important.