Congressman Vargas Defends Military Moms’ Maternity Rights

Washington, DC - Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) is a proud original cosponsor of The Military Opportunities for Mothers (MOM) Act, introduced by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) and Rep. Kristi Noem (SD-at-Large), which would help millions of military mothers by extending maternity leave for active duty women from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. 

The legislation will align access to maternity leave for female Service Members with the minimum requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

“It is unacceptable that women who serve in our Armed Forces are denied the time necessary to bond with their newborn infants and recover after childbirth,” said Rep. Vargas.  “What message is being communicated to our women in uniform when they are asked to defend our nation, yet their time with their children is not protected?”

Currently, the Office of the Secretary of Defense permits active duty mothers to take 42 days of maternity leave, which is 42 days less than mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.  Numerous studies have shown that women who take a minimum of twelve weeks of leave from work postpartum exhibit less symptoms of depression, an increase in physical health, and a reduction in long-term cognitive and behavioral issues with the child.

“This Mother’s Day, more women will be contributing to our military than ever,” said Rep. Duckworth. “They are serving with distinction in Afghanistan and at duty posts around the world. They are serving in combat positions that were just opened to them. Women are an irreplaceable piece of the strongest and most capable military in the world. Mothers in the military inevitably face separation from their children when they are deployed and serving our nation around the globe. Extending maternity leave for these women is the least we can do for those who sacrifice so much for our country.”

“For working moms, going back to work after having a child is one of the most difficult days,” said Rep. Noem.  “But when you put on fatigues instead of a business suit and return to a military base halfway around the world instead of an office around the corner, that day can be even more difficult.   Extending maternity leave and offering more time to recover from childbirth is the least we can do for these mothers who have not only made sacrifices for our children, but for their entire country.”

“I am incredibly proud to join my colleagues in defending the maternity rights of our military moms,” said Rep. Vargas.  “Our female service members, who have made countless sacrifices, deserve to have their maternity leave extended.”

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