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A Cultural Shift Is Helping Keep Talented Mothers in the U.S. Navy

May 16, 2019

May 15, 2019: Lt. Cmdr. Karen Sankes-Ritland never imagined life outside the military.But more than a decade into her career, the strains of family life and a dual-military household were taking a toll. Something had to change. She needed a break. But she didn't want to leave the Navy. So after her fourth child's arrival in 2016, she took advantage of a program that lets enlisted sailors and officers take a sabbatical. For a year, she was a stay-at-home mom.

Sankes-Ritland is one of 217 sailors who have used or are using the Career Intermission Program since it was first offered as a pilot program in 2009, with 79 of those choosing to take time off for family reasons that could include having or adopting a child or taking care of an ill parent, according to Naval Personnel Command. Sailors can take up to three years off, but must serve an additional month after they return for every month they've been gone.

The program is one of a series of changes the Navy has recently made to be more accommodating to working parents in an effort to retain talented sailors.

Read more: A Cultural Shift Is Helping Keep Talented Mothers in the Navy (www.military.com)

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