A new policy recently introduced by the Navy offers active-duty fathers 10 days of paternity leave to try out their new parenting skills before returning to work.
Under the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, all branches of the military are required to devise their own paternity leave arrangement. The Marines also currently have a policy in place, while the Army and Air Force are still finalizing theirs.
Stephanie Miller, deputy director of the Navy’s Task Force Life/ Work told Stars and Stripes that the addition of this benefit makes the armed services more competitive with corporate America.
"One of the reasons we support it is it should help retain sailors," she said, adding that women already receive 42 days of maternity leave, while adoptive parents get 21 days.
A sailor with a pregnant wife can take his leave up to one year after his child is born, as long as his commanding officer approves the arrangement. However, unmarried fathers are not able to take advantage of the benefit, according to Military.com.
The policy may also reflect the evolving role of fathers in contemporary families. Nearly 6 out of 10 working dads said they think their employer should be more considerate about their family commitments, according to a 2007 Monster survey.