Cantwell Statement on the Coast Guard Doubling Maternity Leave

Cantwell pressed Coast Guard to expand maternity leave in letter, amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After pressure from Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, announced today that the Coast Guard will be expanding maternity leave from six weeks to twelve weeks for Coast Guard Service members -- matching all other branches of the military.

“Today’s decision by the Coast Guard underscores the contributions our brave Coast Guard women and their families make in service to our country. I am thankful for Admiral Zukunft’s leadership on this issue. As one service member said to me, ‘women should never have to choose between serving their country, and serving their families,’ and today’s decision means our Coast Guard servicewomen won’t have to make that choice,” said Senator Cantwell, a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Coast Guard.

“In direct support of my guiding principles, especially ‘Duty to People,’ I want to promote a diverse and inclusive environment that also accommodates female servicemembers who give birth while on active duty,” said Adm. Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “We are very proud to have fully integrated women into our operations at all echelons — a milestone achieved in 1978; our mission readiness is directly tied to their important contributions. I am especially appreciative of Senator Maria Cantwell’s tireless work and leadership on this important issue. She worked closely with us to help see this through to fruition.”

Senator Cantwell wrote a letter to the Commandant  in August of last year calling on him to use his existing authority to expand maternity.

In December, the Senate passed a Cantwell-proposed amendment to the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S.1611) to require the Coast Guard to ensure parody between Coast Guard maternity leave, and maternity leave policies in the U.S. Navy or the Department of Defense, whichever is greater. That bill and the Cantwell amendment passed the House of Representative yesterday and is now headed to the president’s desk to be signed into law.