Expanded Maternity Leave for USPHS
12/8/2016 12:00:00 AM
On December 8, 2016, Surgeon General VADM Vivek Murthy announced that 84 days of non-chargeable maternity leave would be extended to active duty PHS officers, effective December 5, 2016. The announcement, policy, and a series of "Frequently Asked Questions" prepared by the Office of the Surgeon General can be found on the COA website under "Advocacy," then "Letters." The official policy is at http://www.coausphs.org/media/1478/official-policy_maternity_leave_cc36301.pdf.
In a call with COA Executive Director Jim Currie, Surgeon General Murthy expressed appreciation for the role that COA had played in bringing this significant policy change to fruition. COA had originally reached out to the Surgeon General in July 2015 when it was announced that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus had granted extended maternity leave to sailors and marines. COA asked the Surgeon General to consider doing the same for Commissioned Corps officers, and VADM Murthy quickly responded that he would look into it. The delay in granting maternity leave to PHS officers was caused by the difference in authority between a military service Secretary like Mabus and the authority of the Surgeon General. Ultimately, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services signed the new leave provision. COA is pleased that this new maternity leave policy parallels the maternity leave granted to members of the military services.