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Navy adds family benefits to keep sailors

Staff writer ▼ | May 15, 2015
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus outlined a list of personnel initiatives the service plans to execute to include changes to the Navy's promotion system, more paid maternity leave and a Career Intermission Program in hopes of attracting and keeping sailors in the service.
Ray Mabus
Defense   Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced a range of measures
Mabus details in a speech at the U.S. Naval Academy to a broad range of initiatives and changes for officers and enlisted personnel designed to attract, promote and retain sailors at a time when Navy officials fear an improving economy could sink military recruitment and retention, Kris Osborn reports for

While many of the initiatives pertain to both male and female members of the Navy, a handful of the emphasized proposals, such as extending maternity leave and childcare hours, were aimed at appealing to women and families in the Navy.

For instance, female sailors will receive twice as much paid maternity leave under a proposal to extend the time period from six to 12 weeks. The Navy Secretary also proposed providing extra hours of child care support, and eliminating sex-specific uniforms.

"To make sure you have the time to spend with your newborn, we are proposing legislation that will double paid maternity leave from 6 to 12 weeks starting next year," Mabus said in his remarks, adding that the service needs to recruit more women.

Mabus also said he wanted to expand the number of combat roles women could fulfill in the Navy.

"I'm personally committed to opening all operational billets to women," he added.

"In all cases, I personally believe we ought to have one standard for both sexes, a standard that matches the demands of the job, and if you pass, you pass."

The Navy Secretary said the service is considering moving toward a common male-female uniform, he said.