US Navy Triples Maternity Leave, Air Force Looks to Follow Suit

The US Navy made schedules a lot more flexible for working mothers last week, announcing they are tripling their maternity leave.

On July 2, Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, announced that, effective immediately, women serving in the Navy and Marine Corps will receive 18 weeks of maternity leave — tripling the previous policy which allowed for six weeks.

A job in the military, it goes without saying, requires parents to be away from their family for long periods –deployments can often last months. Mabus hopes the new leave policy will provide moms some much needed quality time with their newborns.

“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,” Mabus added. “Meaningful maternity leave when it matters most is one of the best ways that we can support the women who serve our country. This flexibility is an investment in our people and our Services, and a safeguard against losing skilled service members.”

The Air Force, apparently liking what they saw, is considering expanding their own maternity leave programs. A more lenient maternity policy would follow their decision to double the deployment deferment for new mothers from six months to a year, according to Air Force Times.