Marines need extended and more flexible parental leave, the Commandant, Gen. David Berger, believes.
“Our parental leave policies are inadequate and have failed to keep pace with societal norms and modern talent-management practices,” Berger stated, in service-wide guidance he issued last year.
In a July 23 interview with Stars and Stripes, Berger said the changes he seeks are taking longer to implement that he “had hoped for.”
The report noted that Defense Department guidelines – to which the Marine Corps adheres – allows for six weeks’ maternity convalescent leave, which begins the day the mother and child are released from the facility at which the birth took place. The leave can be taken at the same time the new parent takes maternity convalescent leave, or anytime during the year in which the child was born, adopted or taken into foster care.
However, the report noted, accommodations for secondary caregivers differs among the services. While the Air Force and Army allow for up to 21 days’ leave for them, the Navy and Marine Corps only offer 14 days.
Berger wants the Corps to approach parental leave from two standpoints – when the child is still an infant, and when it is being raised. At the latter point, he said, the parents are going to have to decide whether to pursue a military career or raise a family.
In any case, Berger feels that change is necessary in order to keep experienced Marines in uniform. He would like to see a new policy that addresses his concerns adopted in the next six months.