Congresswoman proposes bill opening ‘maternity leave’ to male servicemembers

Rep. Duckworth, an Iraq War Veteran and Black Hawk pilot whose helicopter was shot down in Iraq. Photo credit: College of Dupage

A new bill introduced by an Army veteran Congresswoman would allow 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all military parents, regardless of gender or whether or not the child is adopted.

According to The Hill, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-III.) proposed the bill, citing that all military personnel deserve to spend time with their children.

“Our military readiness also depends on the strong and resilient families that make up its backbone—families that deserve a 21st century parental leave policy that allows them the time they need to bond with their new children,” Duckworth said in a statement on Monday.

The bill rides hot on the heels of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s announcement that all women will receive 12 weeks of maternity leave, a part of the “Force of the Future” initiative that seeks to attract and retain recruits by modernizing policies to compete with the private sector.

“I applaud Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s recognition that a modern military demands a modern benefits package to continue recruiting and retaining the world’s finest troops, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to help our Armed Forces better compete for talent,” said Duckworth. “I hope Congress will step up and pass my Military Parental Leave Modernization Act to secure the rights and protections that all new parents, both in and out of uniform, deserve. Doing so will only make our military stronger and more competitive.”

Under the new bill, fathers and both adoptive parents -as well as foster parents- will receive the 12 weeks of paid leave. Changes to the current system will require an act of Congress.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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