The United States Department of Defense is rolling out new paid maternity leave policies for active duty members of the Air Force (USAF), Army and Navy (including the Marines). Why is this important news for everyone else? New paid maternity leave policies enacted by federal organizations (in this case, the Department of Defense) could have a spillover effect into the private sector, influencing businesses to follow suit.
It could also encourage future attempts at federal legislation for national paid maternity leave. As many of you know, the military commands enormous respect in our country. Military maternity leave policies could be held in high regard.
Female members of the USAF, Army and Navy will now receive 12 weeks of paid maternity leave after giving birth. This is a big change, because previously, female members of the USAF, Army and Navy only received 6 weeks of paid maternity leave. The Department of Defense’s decision to boost maternity leave was an effort to keep female members of the military in their 20s and 30s from leaving. Future decisions by the Department of Defense are expected to strengthen paternity leave for new fathers.
Are There Downsides to the New Defense Department Maternity Leave Policies?
There are some downsides to the new military maternity leave policies. Female members of the three branches will not receive maternity leave if they have adopted children. Furthermore, fathers who have children out of wedlock are still unable to take paternity leave.
However, there are significant pros to the new policies. Women will be given protections against negative career consequences that could result from their absences. Commanding officers will be unable to retaliate against female members for taking paid maternity leave.
There are over one million active members in the U.S. military, so these new policies will affect many people.
The Los Angeles labor attorneys at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob are dedicated to defending the rights of workers.