The Pentagon announced this week that parental leave for military service members has been extended to 12 weeks plus pay, and Pennsylvania State Representative Chrissy Houlahan was one of the advocates for the ruling, writes Amanda Holpuch for The New York Times.
The extension is double the amount of previous leave time and eliminates the difference of leave time between primary and secondary caregivers. In the policy, a parent who gives birth gets their 12 weeks leave after “a period of convalescence.” Meanwhile, parents who did not give birth also get their leave in the first year. Additionally, it applies to those who have adopted a child or are fostering long-term.
However, deployed service members must wait to take their leave until their deployment ends unless under “exceptional and compelling circumstances.”
Representative Houlahan, an Air Force veteran, had introduced a bill in May 2021 that would not only call for 12 weeks of paid leave, but would also include services to help treat postpartum anxiety and depression.
“I can’t understate how monumental this is for our service members and their families,” she said in an email. “I had my first child serving active duty in the Air Force, and the wait for child care on base was months-long. This new policy ensures that families won’t have to choose between a paycheck and taking care of their newborn child.”
Read more about the parental leave in The New York Times.