Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth

Representing the 8th District of Illinois
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Duckworth Secures Bipartisan MOM Act as part of NDAA

May 22, 2014
Press Release
Provision Extending Maternity Leave for Women in the Military Passes House

Last night, the Military Opportunities for Mothers (MOM) Act passed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House of Representatives today. 79 members of Congress on both sides of the aisle cosponsored the MOM Act which was introduced by Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Kristi Noem (R-SD) on May 9th. The legislation extends maternity leave for women serving in the military from 6 weeks to 12 weeks. It will align access to maternity leave for female Service Members with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guidelines available to federal employees.                                                                                                 

“I am truly inspired by the bipartisanship displayed by my colleagues in moving forward this crucial legislation for women in our military,” said Duckworth. “Women are an irreplaceable piece of the strongest and most capable military in the world. This critical piece of legislation will vastly improve the retention of female talent in our Armed Forces, the mental and physical health of the mother, and cognitive development of their children. 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.”

Duckworth spoke in favor of her amendment last night. The text and video of her remarks are below.

Mr. Speaker, last Mother’s Day, I traveled to Afghanistan with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. We heard first hand about the difficult mental and physical challenges our brave Service Men and Women must overcome.

One such challenge was their maternity leave policy, which is not in line with the Family and Medical Leave Act. Currently, the Department of Defense permits active duty mothers to take six weeks of maternity leave. This is six weeks less than mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

My amendment, which is based on my bipartisan bill, the Military Opportunities for Mothers (MOM) Act, would give Service Members the option of extending leave to the same amount that is guaranteed for their civilian sisters.

It has received widespread support because my colleagues have heard from female Service Members and Veterans on how bad this policy of just six weeks is for retention of talented women, morale and mental health.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and give our military mothers a chance at a healthier, stronger future for their families and our country. Extending maternity leave for these women is the least we can do for those who sacrifice so much for our country.

Thank you and I yield back.