New Duckworth Bill to Modernize Military Parental Leave Would Help Armed Forces Recruit and Retain Talented Americans

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 21, 2016. With the Department of Defense (DoD) seeking to improve its ability to recruit and retain talented Americans by offering a more competitive benefits package, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) introduced a proposal to help the DoD achieve this goal by modernizing and expanding the parental leave benefits provided to the men and women who choose to serve in our Armed Forces. Duckworth’s Military Parental Leave Modernization Act would consolidate the Armed Forces’ disparate and confusing parental leave policies into a single policy that is both consistent and equitable for all parents while also helping improve military readiness and workforce competitiveness. A factsheet about the Congresswoman’s new legislation is available here.

“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 Congresswoman Duckworth. “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. 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.”

Duckworth’s Military Parental Leave Modernization Act would allow all Servicemembers—regardless of gender—to receive at least 12 weeks of paid parental leave to care for a new child, eliminate policies that treat adoptive and foster parents as less deserving of parental leave and remove antiquated policies that fail to recognize modern family composition. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and the National Partnership for Women & Families have endorsed Congresswoman Duckworth’s new legislation.

National Women’s Law Center Vice President for Workplace Justice Emily J. Martin said: “Moms and dads need time for family when a new baby is born or adopted.  Your ability to take time to bond with your baby shouldn’t turn on your gender or your marital status or on whether you are a service member or civilian.  By providing 12 weeks of paid leave to all new mothers and fathers, the Military Parental Leave Modernization Act honors the contributions of servicemembers who are parents by ensuring that they can take time to give their children the best start in life.”

“Military families make enormous sacrifices to keep our country safe, and they need and deserve policies that make it possible to remain economically secure when they need time off to care for their families,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, which has pioneered this country’s family and medical leave laws. “The Military Parental Leave Modernization Act will help the military compete for and retain top talent, and keep its personnel focused and functioning at a high level. We applaud Rep. Tammy Duckworth for championing this legislation.”