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For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday that the maternity leave policy for members of the U.S. Coast Guard has been increased from six weeks to up to 12 weeks for mothers, following the birth of their child. This is consistent with the policy announced by the Secretary of Defense last week for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
“This Department’s greatest asset is our people,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson. “We ask great sacrifices of those who serve in the U.S. Coast Guard, performing vital homeland security missions every day. Our servicemembers’ success cannot depend on a choice between their children and their mission. Ensuring new mothers have the flexibility they need to care for their families reflects our deep commitment to our workforce and strengthens this Department as a whole.”
“In direct support of my guiding principles, especially ‘Duty to People,’ I want to promote a diverse and inclusive environment that also accommodates female servicemembers who give birth while on active duty,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “We are very proud to have fully integrated women into our operations at all echelons — a milestone achieved in 1978; our mission readiness is directly tied to their important contributions. I am especially appreciative of Senator Maria Cantwell’s tireless work and leadership on this important issue. She worked closely with us to help see this through to fruition.”
The policy change is effective immediately. Servicemembers who have not yet given birth will be authorized up to 84 consecutive days of leave, while those who are currently on maternity leave will be granted an additional 42 consecutive days of maternity leave.
In addition to the maternity leave policy, the U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to examine the other Force of the Future workforce initiatives recently announced by the Secretary of Defense for possible implementation by the U.S. Coast Guard, to further enhance readiness as well as personal and family well-being. No specific timelines for additional policy changes are available at this time.