The new Marine Corps commandant wants to give new moms a full year off

Military Benefits
(Department of Defense photos)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Marine Corps must update its parental-leave policies to give new moms and dads time with their newborns, the service's new top general wrote this week, including considering a full year's worth of leave for women who've had a child.

Marines should not be expected to choose between being the best parent possible and their career duties, Commandant Gen. David Berger wrote in his planning guidance released to the force Tuesday.

"These outcomes should never be in competition to the extent that success with one will come at the expense of the other," Berger wrote. "Our parental/maternity leave policies are inadequate and have failed to keep pace with societal norms and modern talent management practices."


In the future, he added, the Marine Corps "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."

"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 wrote.

The commandant's plan would drastically expand the service's maternity leave benefits. Female service members are currently allowed to take 12 weeks off after having a baby. In the Marine Corps, they can take that all at once, or take six weeks off immediately and spread the other six out over the course of the baby's first year of life.

Secondary caregivers are given 14 days of leave under the Marine Corps' current policy.

Berger's plan could even surpass the most generous family leave policies in the private sector. Hewlett Packard Enterprise made headlines this spring when its CEO announced that all new parents would be given at least six months of leave paid out at 100% of their salaries to bond with their new children after birth or adoption.

Berger told Military.com last week that people have always been and always will be at the center of the Marine Corps' mission. As he prepared to release his guidance to the force, he said he was weighing what the service needed to do to retain its best talent.

This is not the first time naval leaders have sought to extend parental leave policies. In 2015, then-Navy Secretary Ray Mabus tripled maternity leave for all sailors and Marines from six to 18 weeks. It was one of several efforts Mabus spearheaded to make military service more attractive to women, including allowing sailors and Marines to pause their careers for up to three years if they wanted to start a family, and making job titles and uniforms gender-neutral.

About a year later, the Pentagon scaled back its maternity leave policies for all the military branches to 12 weeks, leaving sailors and Marines who had babies with six fewer weeks at home.

The issue of paid parental leave has been a hot topic on Capitol Hill and among those running for president in 2020. Politicians on both sides of the aisle support plans that would give more Americans paid family leave.

This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

In the wake of a heartwarming viral video that was featured everywhere from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail comes a disheartening revelation: The 84-year-old self-described Army nurse cranking out push-ups in her crisp Vietnam-era uniform might not be who she said she was.

Maggie DeSanti, allegedly a retired Army lieutenant colonel who rappeled out of helicopters in Vietnam, was captured in a video challenging a TSA agent to a push-up competition ahead of a flight to Washington, D.C., with the Arizona chapter of the organization Honor Flight on Oct. 16. The video soon was everywhere, and many who shared it, including Honor Flight, hailed DeSanti's toughness and spirit.

Read More Show Less

The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.

"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.

So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Read More Show Less
(ABC News)

Peach schnapps, sex on the beach, and piña colada may be familiar drinks to anyone who's spent an afternoon (or a whole day) getting plastered on an ocean-side boardwalk, but they're also specialty desserts at Ray's Boozy Cupcakes, Etc, a bakery in Voorhees, New Jersey run by a 93-year-old World War II veteran named Ray Boutwell.

Read More Show Less
Instagram/US Coast Guard

A former senior Coast Guard official has been accused of shoplifting from a Philadelphia sex shop.

Rear Adm. Francis "Stash" Pelkowski (Ret.) was accused of stealing a tester item from Kink Shoppe on Oct. 8, according to an Instagram post by the store that appeared online two days later. In the post, which included apparent security camera footage of the incident, a man can be seen looking at products on a counter before picking up an item and placing it in his pocket before turning and walking away.

The Instagram post identified the man as Pelkowski, and said it wished him "all the best in his retirement, a sincere thank you for your service, and extreme and utter disappointment in his personal morals."

Read More Show Less

SAN DIEGO —The Marines say changes in the way they train recruits and their notoriously hard-nosed drill instructors have led to fewer incidents of drill instructor misconduct, officials told the Union-Tribune.

Their statement about training followed an Oct. 5 Washington Post report revealing that more than 20 Marines at the San Diego boot camp have been disciplined for misconduct since 2017, including cases of physical attacks and racist and homophobic slurs. The story also was published in the Union-Tribune.

Read More Show Less