Navy considering expanding paternity leave, top Navy officer says

Navy considering expanding paternity leave, top Navy officer says

by Audrey McAvoy
The Associated Press

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — The Navy's top officer said Tuesday the service is considering extending paternity leave for new fathers.

The Navy currently awards married fathers up to 10 days of paid leave upon the birth of a child. Last year, the Navy tripled paid maternity leave for female sailors and Marines to 18 weeks.

A female sailor asked Navy Adm. John Richardson during a meeting with hundreds of servicemembers at a Pearl Harbor pier whether the Navy might increase paternity leave as well.

Richardson said it was something officials in Washington were now discussing.

Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens called about 10 sailors who became new fathers within the past year to the front of the pier and asked them how much paternity leave the Navy should offer.

The group quickly discussed the issue, and then replied their consensus was that the Navy should give 30 days of paternity leave.

Richardson said he'll take that opinion back to Washington.

"It's great to get a sense for what your input will be," Richardson told the sailors.

He said their view consistent with other thoughts he has heard on the issue, with many saying paternity leave should last about three weeks to 30 days.

Richardson held the "all hands call" meeting during his first trip to Hawaii since he became chief of naval operations last month. He stopped in the islands at the beginning of a two week trip to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Bahrain and Italy.

Other topics during the meeting with sailors addressed developing more comfortable boots, flame resistant uniforms, reenlistment bonuses and proposed changes to retirement programs.

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