WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced the implementation of a paternity leave policy authorized Oct. 14 which is part of the Fiscal Year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act.
The paternity leave policy provides Sailors another tool designed to help balance work and family. It grants 10 days of non-chargeable leave to married fathers who are currently serving on active duty following the birth a child.
"I think the policy is great," said Yeoman 1st Class Luis Lujan who has two children and expects the arrival of a third in approximately two weeks.
"My wife is scheduled to have a C-section, which is a major surgery. She's going to need the time to recover and shouldn't have to worry about anything but healing during that time," he said.
Lujan said he'll adjust to a new routine during his paternity leave but feels it is important for him to help out during the critical first days after the birth of a new child.
Lujan said his wife usually takes the kids to school and picks them up from child care, but it's a job he'll assume during his leave.
"I'll also be doing the cooking, cleaning and laundry, and helping to care for the newborn," he said. "It's only fair."
Lujan's wife, First Class Petty Officer Monico Lujan, an active-duty hospital corpsman, said she's excited about the new paternity policy and said it makes her feel more committed to the Navy.
"The leave will really help us because we won't have family around to help," she said explaining that the nearest relative lives in Texas and will not be able to get time off from work to visit.
"But I think it's great because the Navy asks a lot of Sailors, and so it's like they are looking out for us."
The Navy, which is committed to becoming one of the top 50 employers in the nation and attracting the best talent possible, designed the progressive paternity leave policy after considering the changing perspectives of work and family needs in the Navy. These perspectives include a desire for more family time.
The Lujans are only one of several military families excited about the new paternity leave policy. The popularity of the new benefit among fathers demonstrates the priority both male and female Sailors place on striking a healthy balance between work and family.
"We're pleased to be able to offer this highly-valued benefit," said Capt. Ken Barrett, head of Task Force Life Work, which helped spearhead the paternity leave policy. "Addressing life/work needs for our Sailors is a top priority. The ability for new dads to bond with a new baby or help mom at home is important to building healthy families and is a big priority for our Navy."
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp-diversity/.